Commentary on the Gospel of
John 17: 11b-19 Noble task well done!
I have guarded them
That they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves
Sanctify them in the truth: your word is the truth.
A psychologist by name Erik Erikson in his book ‘Childhood and Society’ presents a theory captioned ‘Eight stages of Man,’ whose final stage is ‘Ego integrity versus Despair. Simply put, this stage holds that one who wasted the youthful years, spends the old age in regrets, in despair; whereas, one who lived a meaningful, responsible life spends the last years fulfilled, full of good memories and with a happy landing! We notice this trend at work in today’s gospel passage. Our Lord Jesus is just at accomplishing his mission on earth!
The Lord Jesus declares ‘I have guarded them … that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.’ Oh what a joy of accomplishing a noble task! Ordinarily, our Lord Jesus Christ is so meek and humble that he neither talks about his achievements nor allows others to broadcast them. Now he is at the peak, the climax of accomplishing his mission, he publicly acknowledges having fulfilled his Father’s will – teaching us to persevere to the end.
Our Lord’s attitudinal behaviour challenges any form of pride or boasting that we might try to showcase at the accomplishment of any project, whether big or small. He refocuses us on the ultimate goal of doing the Father’s will, as the sole source of deeply rooted fulfilment. So, he invites each of us to reflect on what matters most in one’s life.
Our Lord crowns this appreciation of his accomplishment with a very moving prayer for his disciples: that the Father ‘sanctifies them in the truth, namely his word.’ Of course, abiding in his truth, in his word means conforming to his modelling – this, certainly leads us back to reunion with the Father. O Lord, give us your grace that we may remain faithful to the end, amen.