“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.”
What’s in a name? In the Old Testament, names stood for the character and mission of a person, as when Abram became Abraham, or Jacob became Israel. The divine name given to Moses at the burning bush, “I AM WHO I AM,” was so sacred that no one pronounced it except the High Priest once a year in the Holy of Holies.
In Jesus, the great and all-holy “I AM” steps into our world and reveals himself as the Son of the Father, both of whom are “I AM.” When he taught the disciples to pray, “Abba, Father,” he overturned centuries of unapproachability surrounding the four-letter name, YHWH.
Abba, keep your dear ones in your name, in your heart, in your person, in your womb—that they may be one just as we are one. “We”—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in their self-emptying Love—is the model for our personal communion. Jesus’ prayer to the Father reveals that the oneness of the Three Divine Persons is rooted in the Father. Union and communion of persons have a personal principle.
“When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Friendship is not forced or automatic. Even a close disciple of Christ has the freedom to leave him.
“I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One (or ‘from evil’). They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
We are pilgrims and sojourners in this life. While forces of disunity and opposing personal wills pull the earth into disintegration, Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father who is Truth, opens the door to reintegration. Every heart consecrated in their truth radiates the energy of divine grace to heal the world. Veni Creator Spiritus!
This passage has been called Jesus’ Commencement address. He’s sending his followers out into the world to “Commence” or begin their mission. They have been schooled in the God News. They will not be alone but have the gift of the Holy Spirit to be TRUTH in the world.