Tuesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 20:17-27; John 17:1-11a)
In Spanish there are different words for our two senses of knowing in English: saber and conocer. Saber means to have knowledge of something. Ella sabe quién es el presidente (she knows who is president). Conocer is a more personal kind of knowledge. Él conoce Chicago porque se crió allá (he knows Chicago because he grew up there). Of course, conocer implies a relationship with another. In today’s gospel Jesus says that eternal life consists in knowing personally (conociendo) God the Father and the Son. If this does not excite us, perhaps we are unware of having had the experience.
Winston Churchill once said of his friend Franklin Roosevelt, “Meeting him was like opening a bottle of champagne, and knowing him was like drinking it.” More should be said of knowing God the Father and the Son. If Jesus’ parable of the “Prodigal Son” has currency, God is a little like the father of a boy’s best friend. After a childhood squabble with the friend, his father came looking for the boy to take him to their school’s football game as he had always done. Knowing Jesus is something like the comradery among soldiers fighting together in the trenches. They would give their lives primarily for one another’s sake.
We know God the Father and God the Son in at least two ways. First, we read the Scripture which is their story. It tells mostly of their love for us. Second, we pray to them. They will not fail to help us in our need.