Day 104: The Priestly Prayer of Jesus

John 16:1-15 The coming persecution would include excommunication from the synagogue and martyrdom. The Holy Spirit always provides unfailing faith and fortitude to the Church in all circumstances and guides her “into all truth,” so what is taught is preserved from all error. (CCC 729, 1287, 2615)

Ch 16:7-17 The role of the Holy Spirit is essential to the growth and development of the Church that Christ has founded. In revealing and glorifying Christ as the world’s Redeemer and in serving as the Advocate and “spirit of truth” for the Apostles, he also will convict the world of its sinful rejection of Christ and pronounce judgement on Satan and those who sided with him. For those who are faithful, the Holy Spirit will bring them into the life of Jesus Christ, whereby they will share in his wisdom, love, and joy. (CCC 91, 243-244, 485, 692, 1287)

Ch 16:8-11 Divine Revelation, which is completed in Christ and guaranteed in truth by the Holy Spirit, makes the world painfully aware of the reality and evil of sin. 

The ruler of this world is judged: By his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, Christ conquered evil along with its primary agent, the Devil himself. (CCC 385, 388-389, 1433, 2615)

Ch 16:13 Will guide you into all the truth: The Holy Spirit will enlighten the Church to teach the truth according to the mind of Christ. He guides the Church with assurance that her teachings are infallibly true with regard to the whole Deposit of Faith, which includes her teachings on the dogmas of faith, the Sacraments, inspired texts of Scripture, and tenets of morality.

He will not speak on his own authority: The Holy Spirit assists every Christian in understanding the words of Christ and in following him with faith and truth. We perceive the work of the Holy Spirit by his work of sanctification and inspiration. The moving witness of the saints is the greatest manifestation of the work of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 95, 687, 1117, 2034-2035, 2466)

Ch 16:16-33 Christ again anticipated his Passion, Death, and Resurrection and how these events would affect the Apostles: They would experience great sorrow at his Death, but that sorrow would turn to joy after the Resurrection. In a like manner, the pain of persecution and martyrdom would turn to joy through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual fruits produced, and the glory of the Beatific Vision.

A little while: We will not see him again until he returns in glory on the last day. (CCC 1708)

Ch 16:23-27 You will ask will receive: Perhaps Christ was referring to the perfect joy of Heaven in which there is no need to ask for anything. As long as we are pilgrims here on earth, we should rely on the power of prayer by confidently making our needs known to the Father through Christ. (CCC 2157, 2615, 2815)

Ch 16:28 Because he was the only one to have come from the Father, Christ was the only one who can return to the Father. By returning to the Father, he has become our Advocate and Mediator and made possible our own entrance into Heaven. (CCC 661, 2795)

Ch 16:32-33 You will be scattered: Christ predicted how the disciples would flee before his frightful Passion. (CCC 1808)

Ch 17:1-26 In his moving “priestly prayer” to his Father, the longest recorded in the Gospels, Christ asked that through him the Father might be glorified. He wholeheartedly made his sacrificial offering of his life to fulfill the Father’s plan of redemption. He prayed that his followers would faithfully reflect his own intimate union with the Father. Included in Christ’s priestly prayer was protection from temptations connected with operating in the world. The Lord wanted the Apostles to radiate light hand happiness characteristic of the life of Christ. (CCC 2604, 2745-2758, 2815, 2849)

Ch 17:1 The hour has come: Christ knew the beginning of his Passion was at hand. (CCC 730, 1085, 2746)

Ch 17:2-3 To share in the divine life consists in having a loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This knowledge of Christ that leads to eternal life cannot be reduced to mere academic knowledge but rather knowledge that springs from friendship with the Trinity forged through prayer and charity. (CCC 217, 684, 1721, 1996)

Ch 17:4 Christ’s work of redemption, willed by the Father, will continue through his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations, until the end of time. (CCC 1069)

Ch 17:6-10 An essential part of carrying out Christ’s mission is for his followers to witness faithfully to the freedom, joy, and peace derived from his own divine life. (CCC 432-433)

Fortitude is among the principal gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fortitude, or courage, allows us to rise above temptation, fear, persecution, and other trials as we strive to emulate Christ’s life and implement his words. This gift of the Holy Spirit gives the necessary graces to embrace the Cross and profess the Faith amid adversities and obstacles. Part of this fortitude includes the supernatural hope of a reward that far surpasses the joys and pleasures of this present life.

Ch 17:11 Keep them in your name: Christ prayed that his Apostles would be vigilant in their faith so that they would persevere through every difficulty. 

That they may be one, even as we are one: Christ’s followers should reflect the same unity and love in the life of the Trinity. This verse is an urgent appeal to pray and work for unity among Christians without compromising the revealed truth, known as ecumenism. (CCC 2747, 2749, 2815, 2849)

Ch 17:13 The prayer of Christ extends to the end of time. In returning to the Father and sitting at his right hand, Christ, our High Priest, continues to pray for us and grants us the grace of salvation and holiness through his Church. (CCC 2747, 2749)

Ch 17:14-16 World: In this instance, it means the corruption of humanity caused by the temptations coming out of the world. The Apostles would have to live and minister in the world but were not to be “of the world.” Christ thus prayed that his people be confirmed in their fidelity and protected from overpowering temptation to evil. (CCC 2850-2854)

Ch 17:17-20 Christ gave his Apostles a sacred mission. Although all members of the Church are called to the service of God, the Apostles had the unique calling to initiate in the name of Christ the evangelization of the world, and this mission would be continued by their successors until the end of time.

Your word is truth: Christ is the very revelation of all God’s truth. Embracing Christ’s example and teachings is essentially living the truth. (CCC 858, 2466, 2812, 2821)

Ch 17:21-26 The entire purpose of God’s plan of salvation is to draw every person into communion with the divine life of the Trinity. Happiness here on earth and everlasting life in Heaven consists in intimate union with each Person of the Trinity through Jesus Christ. Christ makes it clear that this unity between the disciples of Christ and the Trinity will be made manifest through joy. 

So that the world may know me: The visible unity of the Church is a sign of its divine origins. That unity is represented by the Pops, the successor of St. Peter, and all the bishops of the world in communion with him. Deacons and priests likewise minister in communion with their bishops or religious superiors. This unity is also to be reflected in the common mission of all the faithful and their fervent example of love for one another. The unity of the Church was bestowed upon us by Christ and will NEVER be lost, but it requires constant WORK AND PRAYER to maintain and perfect that unity. (CCC 73, 260, 820-822, 877)

Ch 18:1-12 The “hour” of which Christ had often spoken had arrived. John’s presentation of the arrest of Christ differs in some details from those in the Synoptic Gospels. For example, John did not report the Agony in the Garden or Judas’ kiss, and the dialogue between Christ and the soldiers varies, though in any case, the essentials remain, and there are no contradictions with the Synoptic Gospels. 

Ch 18:4-6 Christ, desiring only to do the will of the Father, freely allowed himself to be arrested and maltreated.

They drew back and fell to the ground: As a reminder of his divine power and his total freedom in allowing himself to be apprehended, he caused the soldiers to fall to the ground. Note that it follows Christ’s use of the words, “I AM.” (CCC 609)

Ch 18:10-11 In the wake of the New Commandment of Love, Peter’s violent act showed that he still did not understand the mission that Christ came to fulfill. 

Shall I not drink...has given me?: Christ chided Peter for his error and reaffirmed his unhesitating desire to fulfill the will of the Father, both in his words and in his peaceful surrender to his captors like a lamb to be slaughtered. (CCC 607)

Ch 18:12 The arrest of Christ was a joint effort between a rather large deployment of Roman soldiers and Jewish Temple guards. (CCC 575)

Ch 18:13-27 Another disciple: This is probably the unnamed disciple “whom Jesus Loved,” who is assumed to be John. 

Known to the high priest: There is a tradition that John belonged to a priestly family, which could have gained him access to the court of the high priest. (CCC 597)

Ch 18:19-24 Now Christ was questioned by the civil authority in the praetorium, the Roman governor’s residence. Pilate saw Christ as a religious figure and the charges against him as religious issues, neither of which were his concern. He only questioned Christ on whether he was a king, which could make him a threat to the Romans who ruled the region. However blind his various accusers were to seek Christ’s identity and mission, God allowed them their terrible injustices and incorporates them into his plan of salvation.

Ch 18:31 It is not death: Roman law forbade the Jews from carrying out the death penalty. Therefore, the enemies of Christ tried to convince Pilate that Christ was plotting a revolt against the Romans so he could be condemned to death. (CCC 596, 2267)

Ch 18:33-38 Christ did not deny he was a king. In fact, his heavenly kingship is a dominant theme of John’s Passion narrative. Rather, he only denied that he was a king in the worldly, political sense. He came not to deliver people from the oppression by the Romans but from the oppression of sin and the evil one, which is the greatest form of enslavement. His mission was to speak the truth through example and word.

What is truth?: Pilate’s reply was a tacit denial of objective truth that showed his incapacity in understanding what Christ had to say. 

I find no crime in him: Having ascertained that Christ was not a threat to Caesar and Roman rule, Pilate was eager to release him. (CCC 160, 217, 549, 559, 2471)


God, we ask you to please help us to choose you this day and every day. Help us to draw close to you. Let it be possible that what you have done for us in humbling yourself and being humiliated and enduring suffering and as we are going to hear tomorrow, enduring crucifixion, death, and resurrection, that you did it all for the Father’s glory and you did it all for us. Let it not go to waste on us. 

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, we thank you. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for allowing us to hear the prayer of the Son to you, Father. On the night he was betrayed, on the night he was denied, on the night he was handed over to his enemies, to those who mocked and falsely accused and ultimately killed him. On this night, Father, in your word, you give us a picture of how your Son spoke with you. How much he not only loves you, but how much he loves those who are his own in the world. Father, thank you so much for giving us access to the Son’s prayer. Thank you for allowing us to be the ones he prayed for. And, Father, we just ask that you please show your heart to us and the heart of your Son who is so humbled and humiliated. That he is willing to be exchanged with a robber, for our sake. He is willing to take the place of the guilty, even as he is guiltless. Help us to know this more and more deeply. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”


Jesus promised his disciples that there is more truth that he cannot tell them now. Instead he promised the Holy Spirit would come and guide them to all truth. Through the authority of Christ, who is the truth, and the Holy Spirit guiding it, the church is given the charism of infallibility, to be the pillar and bulwark of truth, to be the voice of Christ on earth, and to bind and loose whatever and it is bound and loosed in heaven. And heaven cannot be bound by error.

Notice that Jesus isn't praying only for his Apostles to remain as one. He also prays for those, who will come to believe in him through THEIR word, to become one as well. The Apostles passed on this teaching to their disciples to remain as one body, one mind, one church, and avoid dissention. Particularly noteworthy is St. Paul's instruction to Timothy to "entrust what he heard from Paul to faithful men, who then will pass on to their disciples." One such teaching Timothy will pass on to his disciples, who will then do the same, is to remain as one church and avoid dissention.

If you have followed along with me since Genesis, then you will have seen this chart twice before. Now that we read of Peter taking out his sword to protect Jesus, we can look back to the similarities when Levi took vengeance for his defiled sister, and when the Levites avenged the idolatry of the golden calf, and their ultimate role as the priesthood ministering to the temple, the elder priests of which would keep the keys to the temple.