Father Rodney Torbic

May 7 / 20, 2018

The Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council

John 17:1-13

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word., Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (KJV)

This Gospel reading on the Sunday following the Feast of the Holy Ascension helps in understanding God the Father and God the Son. Increasing our understanding of God is an expectation and a challenge for Christians.

Christians are not to remain stagnant in their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Growth is expected. Prayer and fasting facilitate growth. Repentance and partaking of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ facilitate growth.

Being nourished by the Holy Gospel facilitates growth. The challenge comes in confronting personal sin and temptations to sin. The challenge comes in being firmly committed to seeking first the Kingdom of God. (Mt. 6:33)

The challenge comes in steadfastly and consistently drawing near to God and clinging to God under all circumstances. Love for God enables a believer to remain united with Him

Love for God provides the motivation and power for believers to overcome obstacles to faithfulness. (Rom. 8:37-39) In the current Gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ speaks about finishing the work given to Him.

Christ speaks about the glory He had before the world was. He speaks about manifesting God the Father’s name to the men given to Him. We learn about the Lord Jesus Christ and His place in earthly time and before the time of earth.

We learn Jesus set out to accomplish certain work. The work was completed. The time for change was at hand. Jesus speaks to God the Father. Understanding this speaking of God the Son to God the Father requires exertion of the mind.

Determining the work of Jesus and the value for this generation is a task for this generation. Believers benefit from the life in Christ to the extent they invest in learning about Christ and in living in ways pleasing to Christ.

Understanding the work of Jesus when He walked the earth centuries ago continues to have meaning today. We know that: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8)

Jesus said the men given to Him have kept the word of God the Father. Each believer is expected to be diligent in keeping the word of God. Jesus once said: “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” (Lk. 11:28)

Every day is an opportunity to hear the word of God and keep it. Believers benefit from studying the words proclaimed by Jesus. The words are lasting and carry with them the power of God. The words are life transforming.

When listening to the word of God, the words carry with them the weight of their origin. Listeners to testimony give weight and assess credibility of the source of the testimony.

When a single source of testimony is credible, the single source can outweigh other sources which may be multiple but have lesser credibility. When Jesus speaks in the Gospel, His words carry weight that has no equal.

Christ’s words carry credibility that have no equal. His words have an origin that has no equal. Believers face life in the present and the unfolding and uncertain future.

Jesus’ words prepare the person for living in the present and for facing the future with confidence and without fear. Jesus gives the directions for life and the nourishment for life which eliminate anxiety, fear and hunger.

Jesus provides peace. Jesus provides certainty. Jesus provides security. The Lord Jesus Christ speaks about unity among those given to Him. Believers are unified in Christ to the degree they live their life in Christ.

When believers are engaged in unhealthy conflict they are not living in accord with the unity expressed in the present Gospel. When believers fail to experience the joy expressed in the present Gospel, it is time for a serious self-assessment.

The life in Christ is a life of joy. The life in Christ is a life of peace. The life in Christ is a life of resolute faith. The life in Christ is a life of fervent belief. Believers must be willing to immerse themselves in the word of God.

Believers benefit by making the word of God the essential fiber of their being. The heart, the mind and the soul are to reflect the word of God. Elements of the self which are contrary to the word of God are to be expelled.

Prayer, fasting and participation in the Holy Mysteries facilitate the desired change. Being transformed in Christ every moment of every day is the desired goal for each believer.

The Holy Apostle Paul told the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 2:2)

May 7 / 20, 2018
The Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council.
Appearance of the Precious Cross Over Jerusalem.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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