Saturday of week 6 of Easter – Gospel


Commentary on John 16:23-28

We are coming now to the end of John chapter 16 in Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper.

Today Jesus makes a solemn promise that whatever his disciples ask the Father in Jesus’ name will be given to them. Up to this, of course, they have not been praying to God through Jesus. That will only happen after the resurrection and ascension. But then it will become the normal way for the Church to pray to the Father as we do in all the prayers in the liturgy of the sacraments.

“Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” As we have pointed out before, this is not a carte blanche for us to make any request that comes into our heads. It is understood that we will be praying, first of all, for what we genuinely need and not just for what we want.

And what we need most of all is to be close to our God and to be equipped with all those things and do all those things which will bring us closer to his will and which will enable us to work with him for the building of the Kingdom. Those prayers will be answered, although not always exactly in the way we might envisage. It may not be until much later that we will realise just how our prayers have been answered and often in very unexpected ways.

Jesus says a strange thing at this point. When his disciples ask for something in his name, “I do not say that I will petition the Father for you.” And the reason he gives is, “The Father already loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” Our Father already knows all our needs and he wants to satisfy them for us in his love. He will not need the intercession of his Son.

And, when we are already closely related in love and faith with the Father and Jesus, mediation is hardly necessary: our relationship is the mediating factor. Our prayer through Jesus is not to tell God something he does not know already. Rather it is to help make us aware of what our real needs are and to go to where those needs will be answered.

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