30 May
Jn 17:1-11

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. "I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

“This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (verse 3).  In other words, eternal life is a relationship with God and Jesus. 
This relationship is real now, in this life; it doesn’t have to wait until after we have died.  There is a human tendency to project things into the future (that's how we cheat ourselves frequently).  When it comes to ‘eternal life’ we tend to project it right out of this world.  This is not a religious instinct; it is just a normal lazy tendency to put everything off till another time.  The religious instinct is to dive in here and now.  Eternal life is now, not later on.  You could shock your friends by saying that there is no such thing as a next life.   All life is now.  As you live, it is always now; when you die it will be now; after you have died, it will be now.  Nothing was ever done or ever happened but now

The expression ‘pie in the sky’ was a parody of a pious hymn called ‘The Sweet By and By’.  If we don’t stay with the here and now, we are left dreaming about a sweet by and by.  Look through the gospels and notice how often Jesus uses the word ‘today’.  “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4.21).  “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9).  “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  Our hunger for life, like our hunger for food, can't be put off till tomorrow. “Give us today our daily bread” (Mt 6:11).  The hymn went: “In the sweet by and by / We shall meet on that beautiful shore.”   After the death of Jesus the downhearted disciples went back to the only thing they knew: fishing.  In the grey light of dawn (and not through rose-tinted spectacles) they saw a familiar figure on the shore.  “[John] said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’ When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the lake” (Jn 21:7).  That shore was not in another world, it was here; and time was not the sweet by and by, but now.  It was here and now, and Peter dived in. 

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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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