Pope: Christ’s "priestly prayer" for Christian unity and openness to God's plan
In the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI speaks of Christ’s "moments" of the prayer at the Last Supper. The "glorification" of the Son, sending out of the Apostles on mission, the institution of the Church and the unity of believers.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Christian unity for which Jesus prayed, "is not a product of this world but comes exclusively from the divine unity, it comes to us from the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit," it is " a reality that is in the heart of people of faith, but must appear at the same time in history so that the world may believe ". In the final day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the unity of the followers of Christ to the people present at the general audience explaining the "priestly prayer" of Jesus
It is Christ’s prayer to the Father at the Last Supper, "understood in its extreme richness, especially if we place it in the context of the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur, the feast of atonement in which the priest atones for himself, for the priestly class and the entire people of Israel "to reawaken awareness in them that they are God's people
The Gospel of John retraces the traditions of the feast. "In the hour of his elevation and his glorification," Jesus addresses a prayer that is "inseparable from his sacrifice” to the Father and of which the Pope highlighted three "moments". The first is "the supplication for his glorification": "more than a request it is his freely offering of himself to become part of the plan of God the Father, culminating with the ascent of Jesus to the Father." "The moment has come to glorify your Son,so that your Son may glorify You."
The second moment is the "intercession for the disciples who were with him, 'those to whom I have manifested thy name.'" The "intercession and atonement for the disciples is in the request for consecration," "they are not of this world." "Consecration - said the Pope – means to transfer a reality so it belongs to God" in the sense of "removing oneself from common things, distancing onself from the living environment to make the total gift of oneself to God." At the same time it is "being sent out on a mission. "Jesus says:" As you sent Me into the world so I send them into the world "," the consecrated person lives for others, is given to others "," being no longer for themselves but for others"." The disciples must continue Christ’s mission, by gifting themselves to God to be on a mission for all".
The third moment, "that we all may be one", " extends our gaze to the end of time" Jesus "intercedes for all those who will be brought to the mission through the faith of the apostles." "Jesus prays for the Church of all times, He prays for us."
Christ’s priestly prayer of Jesus, in fact, is the institution of the Church: "What else is the Church if not the community of disciples who through faith in Jesus receives his unity and is involved in the mission to save the world, leading it to knowledge of God? By virtue of that unity, received and custodied, the Church can walk in the world without being “of the world "and be "the place where the mission of Christ continues: to lead the world out of the alienation of man from God and itself, out of sin, so it can return to being the world of God. "
"The future unity of all who believe in Him" is the central part of the prayer. "This unity is part of a reality that is in the heart of people of faith, but at the same time it must clearly appear in history, so the world may believe, a very practical and concrete aim."
May the "priestly prayer", concluded Benedict XVI - guide us in dialogue with the Lord, help us to enter more fully into the project that God has for us ","Let us ask Him to open up our prayers to the dimension of the world , not only to ask for help in our problems, but to enable us to intercede for others "and for" the gift of unity for all believers".