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In my study this week I came to the conclusion that Jean Vanier (the founder of the l’Arche community) said it best when talking about this chapter in his commentary on John. He wrote in French so here’s my translation of his comments about this text.
Creation sings and reveals the glory of God:
The stars and the planets millions of light years away,
The galaxies beyond galaxies,
Life, infinitely huge and infinitely small;
The multiple species of birds, fish, fruits,
insects and plants form a magnificent whole.
Men, women and children, in all the beauty of their being,
reflect the power and grandeur of the Word,
By whom all things were created
and without whom nothing was made.
God reveals his glory through marvelous and awesome events in history.
Jesus revealed his glory
When he changed water into wine at Cana,
When he raised Lazarus from the dead,
In getting on his knees in front of his disciples to wash their feet;
In giving to them his body to eat and his blood to drink,
He revealed the glory of God
Who became small
In order to sojourn among us,
To act and give his life for us
And transform us in him.
The humility and gentleness of his love are the glory of God.
Jesus reveals that the Father is the Source of all thing, of all life.
Jesus is the Sent One of God who reveals the Father.
Everything that he said and did came from the Father.
He accomplished the work of the Father in unity with him.
Jesus introduces his friends to the glory of the divine life.
Us as well, we give glory to God when we recognize
That all that is beautiful in us comes from him.
We become – us in our turn – the glory of God
When we bear good fruit
And make known the humility and compassion of God
In our words, our actions, our life together.
Ireneaus, the first Bishop of Lyon, France
Wrote in the 2nd century:
“The glory of God is humankind fully alive.
Fully alive in the love of God.”
Jesus prays for those who will continue his mission
To reveal the Father and the gift of the Holy Spirit,
So that they may be righteous,
As he himself is holy.
This sanctification doesn’t come from our efforts to reach God
But from our desire to welcome and receive him, the Holy One
Who sojourns with us.
We, human beings, are a mixture
Of the presence of God and the absence of God
Of light and darkness,
Of truth and chaos,
Of good and evil,
Of openness and refusal,
No human beings is holy or pure by himself.
We only become righteous by the holiness of God.
By ourselves we our incapable of crossing the
Abyss that separates the finite from the infinite.
God comes to meet and encounter us
And we become righteous in welcoming and showing him hospitality.
This implies that little by little we are liberated
From our greed, our selfishness,
The walls that surround our hearts and minds,
And separate us from God, from others,
And from the deepest part of who we are.
This righteousness is not something
That we can achieve or obtain, it’s given to us
In response to the prayer of Jesus
“Sanctify them in the truth” Jn 17:17
This righteousness is not reserved for a religious elite,
For the severely disciplined seekers of God,
For those who have an official role in the Church,
For those who preach and study theology.
This righteousness is not reserved for famous mystics,
Neither for those who do great things for the poor.
We are all called to become righteous, holy.
Being holy, is to be poor enough to welcome Jesus.
Holiness is for those who
Live an ordinary life, who can feel utterly alone,
And who offer small gestures of tenderness and love.
Righteousness, holiness is for all those
Who are elderly, sick, weak, vulnerable, without work,
Who open their hearts to Jesus, in trust,
And cry “Come Lord Jesus, Come!”
Questions for going deeper: