Ezekiel 36.24-28.
The people of Israel, living in exile in Babylon, receive a promise from God: he will renew their hearts and their spirits, and bring them back to the promised land. The relationship between God and Israel will be restored.

Acts 1.6-14.
After his resurrection Jesus has been ‘staying around’ for 40 days, teaching his disciples, who keep hoping for the establishment of the kingdom. But Jesus tells them that their perspective is too limited: the kingdom is not just for Israel, the news has to go to the whole world. To do that they need God’s strength. He commands them to wait until they have received this, before they go out into the world. After saying this he finally leaves them for good, disappearing in a cloud – which means that he enters God’s glory. The disciples return to Jerusalem and devote themselves to prayer.

John 17.1-11.
These verses are the beginning of a long prayer that Jesus prays just before his crucifixion. He has made known God’s name to his disciples, he says, and he prays that therefore they may know eternal life, which is the same as knowing God. They have received Jesus’s words and now it is their turn to share these words with the world. They will need God’s protection, and they will need to be united in love, as the Father and the Son are united in love.

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION, BASED ON THE READINGS:

- Transformation often occurs in times of distress and pain. Let us pray that God will transform us, and also our world, through this crisis in which we find ourselves.

- Jesus has entered God’s glory. By accepting Jesus into his presence, God affirms his life and accepts his sacrifice. Human life is now forever represented before God. God has bound himself to us, and this can never be undone.

- We may feel daunted and even frightened when we think of the world in which we are called to spread God’s love. Let us be encouraged by the knowledge that Jesus himself has prayed for us, and is doing so still, and that we are therefore always living under God’s protection.
Scripture meditations