John’s Gospel reading for today is the final part of Jesus’ prayer to his Father before he is arrested. This last several verses of this passage (John 17:24-26) have been special to me since praying with the passage during a retreat I made several years ago. My director instructed me to hear Jesus praying this prayer to his Father about me, to replace “they” with my name. So I sat and heard Jesus say: “Father, Susan is your gift to me. I wish that where I am Susan also may be with me, that she may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world…I made known to Susan your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in her and I in her.”
What a powerful experience! I was so struck by hearing Jesus say that he wanted me to be with him always. It is one thing for me to always want to be with Jesus – there is only one of him. But, with all the millions and billions of us, to hear that it matters to Jesus that I be with Him always took my breath away. What an amazing thing to hear – that being with me is Jesus’ desire.
The fact that Jesus was expressing this desire not only to me, but to the Father made it even more powerful. It somehow made it more than just an aspiration on Jesus’ part. I realized that there is nothing the Father will not give Jesus; if Jesus desires this and asks it of the Father, it will be done. So the prayer to the Father became for me almost a level of guarantee that Jesus’ desire would be fulfilled. What an amazing feeling it was to experience the reality of the extent of Jesus’ desire for our togetherness.
What Jesus desires with me is no different from what he desires with each of us. If you have any doubt about that, try praying with the passage as I did. Experience Jesus’ prayer to his Father about you.