Selection of the sermons of Father Ezekiel Oko

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Sermon for 7th Sunday of Easter time in the reading year: A

I have glorified you on earth and completed your work

“Father, I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you have given me to do.” These words are part of Jesus' farewell prayer in the Gospel of John, chapter 17 sees them as God's glory. On the cross he says, "It is finished!" That means, "I have done all that my Father commanded me." By this he means that the work for man's salvation is finished. The gate of salvation is for opened up to the people. We humans are now allowed to lead our life in fellowship with God, because Jesus opened the way to the Father for us and made a relationship with the Holy Spirit possible.

This communion with God is what the word "heaven" signifies. We celebrated the Ascension of Christ three days ago. Jesus' ascension into heaven secures for us the way to the Father and the relationship with the Holy Spirit. His work of redemption speaks for us and enables us to enter this community and to fulfill our life's work there. Yes, heaven is open for us to both discover and accomplish the work God has given us to do.

Communion with the Father and with the Holy Spirit means everything to Jesus. And He wants us to be included in this community, where we too can call God our Father and have the power of the Holy Spirit at our disposal.

Dear sisters and brothers, without entering this heavenly communion we would lack a perspective essential to the fulfillment of our lives. Without that perspective, we might think that the purpose of our lives is to be born hard, grow up, toil, see the years through (right or wrong), only to decay again in old age, to the point of death, to Nothing. So we would always live in fear that all our efforts might come to nothing.

In fellowship with God, however, we discover that our life means much more and is much larger than our daily struggles. If we allow ourselves to be accompanied by this community, then we will experience that even murky experiences and challenging moments can be transformed into the experience of God's love and closeness.

When we understand that we are not alone, that we have inherited the path to the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, that we can turn to the loving Father at any moment and have a conversation with Him, then we do not dedicate our lives to this leave the fate of directionless events and powerless thoughts, but include God in every situation, every moment, every event in life. Then we will discover how the light dispels the darkness.

Through the Easter encounters with the Lord, the disciples understood that they could not lead their lives without Him and the promised Holy Spirit. Therefore, after Jesus' ascension, they had to remain behind closed doors in prayer and reading the Holy Scriptures until they received the Holy Spirit. Even after receiving the Holy Spirit, they always tried to remain in his company.

We too can imitate the disciples by allowing our hearts to be opened again to the Holy Spirit and our relationship with Him renewed. We can begin each day in this fellowship by turning to God at the very beginning of the day, even before we get out of bed. Basil the Great once said, "Do nothing in the morning until you have made your heart glad in God."

A short prayer of thanks - such as "Thank you Lord for this good morning" could already have a strong influence on our thoughts during the day. And if you also realize that God is there and He is with you throughout the day, that is already a big step towards conquering the challenges of the day. You can also select texts from the Psalms, such as Psalm 18:29-31: "You let the light of my life shine, Lord. You yourself, my God, lighten the darkness for me. With you, my God, I jump over walls.”

Dear sisters and brothers, as we start the day with God in this way, as we live in this community throughout the day and thereby look at our responsibilities with the eyes of the heart, we will experience an inevitable inner calm, knowing that we are in protected by God exists. Then, at the end of the day, we can make the words of Jesus our own: “Father, I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me [today].

Gospel of 7th Sunday of Easter time in the reading year A;

The High Priestly Prayer

John 17,1-11

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.