Seventh Sunday of Easter
Praying for others
Points to note
This week follows on from the Ascension. This Sunday’s session should then take this as the context. Although the priestly prayer of Jesus in this reading takes place before crucifixion, he nevertheless is praying for the time that he will be going away. It was his parting prayer for his friends whom he will have to leave behind when the Passion commences.
It is easy to refer the children to the goodbyes they have gone through and concentrate on how they express these goodbyes.
Explain to the children that Ascension Thursday was celebrated last Thursday. Ascension Thursday is forty days after Easter. After Ascension, there are ten more days to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit sent by God descended on the Apostles. There were ten days therefore when the disciples were without Jesus and without the Holy Spirit.
i will not leave you orphans, says the a Lord;
I will come back to you and your hearts will be full of joy.
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St John
(Jn 17: 11-19)
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
keep those you have given me true to your name,
so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them, I kept those you have given me true to your name.
I have kept watch over them and not one was lost,
except the one who chose to be lost,
and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you and while I am still in this world
I say these things to share my joy with them to the full.
I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them,
because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world,
but to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself
So that they too may be consecrated in truth.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord
Have you ever had a relative or friend who came from abroad to stay with your family for a while? Let the children talk about who and what they did while they were here.
Can you tell us what did you do when they went away? Say goodbye. Begin to draw them out into the various ways people have a farewell: perhaps, a dinner, a trip to somewhere fun, a shopping trip to buy something somebody wanted, etc.
Explain that in the reading, Jesus was going away. Explain the Ascension and that the Apostles, who will be left bereft again the second time. (Sometimes, when someone we like goes away unexpectedly, we get even more upset when they come back and go away again the second time.). Discuss how the Apostles felt.
Explain that he was planning to send the Holy Spirit to be a comforter to Apostles. He told them that the Holy Spirit will give them strength and courage to carry out his command for them to go and make disciples of all nations. Discuss how they felt.
Maybe the Apostles were a little disappointed. Jesus’ command to go out and baptise everyone was a bit of a difficult task and all they got was the promise of the Holy Spirit, which they probably didn’t know what it was (remember, this was before they received and knew the Holy Spirit on Pentecost day ten days after the Ascension). But wasn’t the Holy Spirit such a great gift that it fulfilled all of Jesus’ promises and more.