Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bear Witness

Bear Witness

May 16, 2013
Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst and take him into the compound.  The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.  For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”  Acts 23:10-11
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”  John 17:20-23


Father, thank you for sending to us the model prayer-partner in your Son.  Jesus, we welcome your prayers for us and provide a place for your love to dwell and sprout into the community.  May we also reflect your presence in us and our lives through the external intervention of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


The seventeenth chapter of John is also known as the “Prayer of Jesus.”  This is the last time that Jesus prays with his beloved disciples present before he is arrested.  By the time they go out to the Kidron Valley, the followers sleep while the Teacher prays.
The Prayer of Jesus sums up John’s theology of love that is bears reflecting upon how it related to the Cursillo weekend. Jesus was probably the one person in the room MOST in need of a prayer partner.  After all, He knew that within hours he would face arrest, trial, torture and execution.  Yet, despite that fact, He is the one doing the praying.  Jesus may not have been concerned because He also knew that his prayer-partner – even when his friends slept or scattered – was, is and always will be His Father in heaven.
On the weekend, we make ample use of prayer partners.  Teams use prayer-partners to get to know each other in formation.  We have prayer-partners in the community offering “Palanca” for the candidates and the team.  We have members of the community providing hands-on service to the weekend.  We have a prayer clock where we can be assured that members of the extended community are praying for the weekend around-the-clock. 
As the weekend progresses, another feature which becomes evident to the candidates is that every time a member of the team gets up to “bear witness” in the model of St. Paul, another member of the team disappears.  It will be revealed that this member is up in the chapel praying for the brother/sister who is delivering the witness talk.
Jesus reveals in John 17 that he is our eternal prayer-partner in two complementary manners.  First the Father is in Him and He is in us.  Second we are in Him and Jesus is in the Father. This unity is what we achieve on a weekend between the team in formation, then between the team and candidates and then between the weekend and the community.  This is most powerfully expressed in the Palanca notes and other actions and prayers that take place before, during and after the weekend.


You do not have to be on a weekend to be a prayer partner and bear witness.  In fact, prayer-partners are a special form of community that is blessed and recognized by the Lord.  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20)
Who can be your prayer-partner this week?  Who needs you to be their prayer-partner this week?

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