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May 21, 2023: 7th Sunday of Easter

Traditionally, the four writers of the Gospels are symbolized by four creatures that make their way into Church art and architecture: Matthew, an angel; Mark, a lion; Luke, an ox; and John, an eagle. These images can be found in churches across the world, a nod to those who recorded the stories of Jesus for us, thousands of years ago.

Today’s Gospel was written by John. There are a few reasons why John is symbolized by an eagle, but my favorite explanation is that his writings soar like an eagle into the sky with their beautiful, poetic language. The prayer we hear today is no different — Jesus invokes God in a long discourse that might seem mystifying at times, the same way that a poem can be perplexing to understand when we are unfamiliar with the pacing or format.

Consider holding onto the shortest sentence in this prayer: “I pray for them.”

Jesus prays for us. For me. For you.

Let that sink deep into your being.

Jesus is on your side. He is aware of what you are holding at this moment. He is aware of your pain, your faith, your mission. And He’s rooting for you. This prayer was recorded thousands of years ago, far before you were born. Since before you were born, you were held in prayer. With that certainty, we live.

— Father John Muir



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