Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 22:30.23:6-11; John 17:20-26)
“Suit the action to the word, the word to the action,” Prince Hamlet instructs a troupe of actors in Shakespeare’s famous drama. The mandate fittingly describes what is taking place in today’s gospel.
The passage concludes Jesus’ “priestly prayer” at the end of his long Last Supper discourse. He has prayed to the Father for his disciples to whom he has revealed the Father’s love. Now he will proceed to give the perfect demonstration of that love with his sacrificial death. It is the Father’s love because, as he says, he and the Father are one. The prayer includes the petition that his disciples may be one with him and the Father.
We are to consider ourselves among the beneficiaries of Jesus’ prayer. The word handed down to us has made us one with him. In giving testimony to him by works of charity, we have his support as well as his instruction. We need not fear if our intentions are misconstrued or if others hate us for doing good. He will come to us as he does to Paul in the first reading saying, “Take courage….”