We come to the last week of Easter, the holiest season of the year. The focus of Easter has been the growth of the early church and the need to be united with the Risen Lord Jesus and with each other so that the Good News can be proclaimed to the entire world.
The Gospel today is Jesus’ prayer (to His Abba) for His disciples. He prays for all His followers (including us) that we might be one, just as He and His Abba are one. His disciples will face trying times and be rejected by people of the world who seek only earthly values. Jesus lifts up His followers so that they may be in the world but not of the world, just as He came into the world, but was not of the world.
Just as the apostles and disciples sensed the need to carry on the ministry of Jesus and looked forward to empowerment by the Holy Spirit, we must also join with Jesus and pray that we might further His work of spreading the Good News. Yet it takes more than just prayer. Jesus’ ministry would continue because His disciples would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep proclaiming the Good News.
And although God works through us and allows those for whom we care to experience God’s presence, we are blessed in the very acts of loving service. We sense the abiding love of God as we serve those whom God has entrusted to our care. And it is only because of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit who came upon the apostles on Pentecost, that we are able to go out to the world and make God’s love tangible.