Sunday Scriptures

Jesus Prays for His Disciples in Hour of Need

By Father Patrick Longalong

I returned to NY Presbyterian (Booth Memorial) as soon as I received a text that my dad had taken a serious turn with his condition. By the time I arrived, he had already been resuscitated twice. An hour later, his heartrate began to slow down again.

I looked at him and my family. It was obvious we didn’t want to let go just yet. They brought him back two more times, but each time I saw my father come back weaker than before. I held his arm and leaned forward to his face so he could see me clearly. “Dad, it is ok. It is time. We will be fine.” I said.

He then slowly closed his eyes while I started to anoint him, surrounded by my mom and sisters. For a long time, I hesitated to give him the sacrament of anointing of the sick and asked another priest to do it because I was afraid to lose him.

It was at that moment when I had to accept the reality that it was time for him to go home to the Lord. It was not long when I found myself convincing my dad not to worry about his family so he could let go peacefully and no longer fight nature’s process.

We read in today’s Gospel Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. But it is a prayer that came out of his love and concern for the well-being of the people he would leave behind. He prayed that “they may be one.” The same hope that my dad wanted for my sisters and I: to be there for each other in support.

Jesus knew that his disciples, his family, would need to resist the temptation to argue, compete and divide amongst each other.

Jesus’ prayer further revealed to us that unity is not an option but a necessity for those who call themselves Christian.

Being rooted in Christ and his mandate to love one another are the sources of Christian unity. When we are united with Christ in this way, we are also united with the Father.

Recently, we celebrated the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. The Scriptures described the scene beautifully and the response of his disciples who “were continually in the temple praising God.”

In my mind that sounds amazing. But if I was there, I would probably be more inclined to be sad. I just saw the person that I love go back to Heaven, which feels so far away.

As human beings we have an innate desire for social interaction especially when it comes to relationships.

Sometimes it is hard to sustain a relationship with another person if they seem distant or physically located far from us. This is why statistics say that long distance relationships have a 58% success rate. If this is the case, how hard is it to enter into a relationship with a God that seems far from us?

The answer goes back to Christian unity. Jesus mentioned that he is with us in the poor, when we pray together and most uniquely in the Holy Eucharist.

Our love for each other keeps the presence of God alive and real in our hearts.

As we maintain Christian unity, we manifest the ultimate aim of this relationship in giving glory to God. Hence, St. Paul’s prayer in his letter to the Romans reflects today’s Gospel well.

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (15:5-7).

Readings for Seventh Sunday of Easter

Acts of The Apostles 7:55-60

Rev. 22:12-14, 16-17, 20

John 17:20-26

Father Longalong is the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, Queens Village, and coordinator of the Ministry to Filipino Immigrants.