20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
We were probably the first Gospel that our children have ever heard.
It IS Mother’s Day, so I will tell you a story about my mother…
I was diagnosed with Dyslexia when I was in second grade…
People with this condition often have a hard time learning how to read, and I was no exception, while my classmates had moved on to more advanced literature, I was still struggling with “Dick and Jane”.
A friend of the family noticed the signs and helped get me into an experimental tutoring program designed to help kids with learning disabilities like mine.
My mother took me to tutoring once a week and then worked with me at home, to reinforce what I had learned there.
She would drill me over and over again with flash-cards, and she would push me to read: everything from street signs, to magazines and books.
It could not have been easy for her, as I often got frustrated when the words did not make sense to me, and wanted to quit after only a few minutes…but she never gave up!
After several months of work and tutoring I finally began to learn a way around my Dyslexia, and before long I had graduated from children’s books to grown-up novels an non-fiction books…and I have been an avid reader ever since…
Being able to read and write is one of the many gifts that I can thank my mother for.
Her commitment helped to open up a world for me that I might never have known otherwise, and gave me the opportunity to know life and the world in new ways…giving me exposure to new ideas and points of view.
For instance, one of the first books I read was “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.
In the novel, books have been banned by a repressive government, who saw the ideas they conveyed as dangerous and subversive.
Anyone caught with books would be arrested on the spot and thrown into prison.
The main character of the book was a “Fireman” whose job it was to burn any books that were found, right where they were, even if that meant burning down the house!
In order to preserve these works of literature, a group of people went into hiding in the woods, far from the city, where each person would be assigned a book to memorize, so it could be shared with others and protected from the firemen until freedom could be restored.
This same sort of oral tradition was how the Gospels were originally told, as stories, memorized and passed down from believer to believer.
Stories of the preaching and teaching of Jesus, who tells us in today’s Gospel that he is in the father and that the father is in him, for it is through Christ that God’s love it made known to the world…
Like in the book, these stories were also seen as dangerous and subversive by a repressive government, the Romans, who would often kill or imprison those who claimed to follow Christ.
This is part of the reason why it took so long for the Gospels to be put into writing…because it was not safe…but then Jesus’s message of God’s love for all people is not always safe, as it is a transformative message, one that eventually brought down the Roman Empire and which continues to change the world!
The Gospel is a message does not belong to some distant past, but is always evolving to speak to our constantly changing world, and because the Gospel of Christ is a message that continues to speak to us of God’s love, as followers of Christ we are called to carry this message in all that we do…and to teach it to our children, so that they can share this gift with others.
In this way we are like those people in the novel who actually became the books they memorized: as we are the living, breathing Gospel, proclaiming the good news of God’s love, active and alive…and right here, where we are!
This is how we may have been the first Gospel our children (and perhaps many others) have ever heard. Because we are the first teachers our children will have…just as my mother was for me!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, we thank you for the ‘mothers’ in our lives, who have guided and taught us throughout our lives, passing their faith onto us. In the same way please help us to pass on the lessons of our mothers, and those who loved us, to our children, as this is a reflection of your gracious love, alive and active in our world…through each of us!