Summary: Jesus prays that His church, which is his people, will be united as one.

John 17: 20-26

In today’s gospel Jesus prays for us. Jesus prays,” I am also praying for everyone else who will have faith in me because of what my followers will say about me.”(20) We believe in Jesus as Lord because of the many disciples who have gone on before us and taught us about Jesus. These disciples may have been parents or grandparents or friends or a pastor, priest, or nun. In the same way Jesus is depending on us to tell others the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. Jesus wants to use us to tell others about Him so that they can have eternal life with Him. Brothers and sisters, our message is urgent because everyday there are people who die without knowing Jesus. Amen? Amen!

There was a Jewish man who became a Christian missionary. He became a pastor. But his family disowned him for becoming a Christian and refused to see him for fifteen years. Then his father became ill with cancer and asked him to visit him on his death bed. But his father refused to talk about spiritual matters with his son. So his son prayed that his father would come to know Jesus before he died. Three days before his father died he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior because another person reached him with the gospel before his death. Jesus wants us to be that other person who reaches others with the good news of God’s love. We start with our families and especially our children and grandchildren. Then we tell friends and neighbors and everyone to come to our church to come and know Jesus. Amen? Amen! There is a woman in our church who works at Fry’s market who is always inviting friends, family, and coworkers to mass. We should all be doing the same! Eternal life is at stake! Amen? Amen!

In order to accomplish the task of bringing people the good news of Jesus. Jesus prays that His church, which is his people, will be united as one. This has not been easy because men get in the way. They want to be in charge of the church when only Jesus is in charge. Saint Paul says Christ is the head of the church and we, the people, are his body. Brothers and sisters you see there is one Christian church and Jesus Christ alone is the head of this church. This church includes Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, etc. It includes all who believe in Jesus Christ. Amen? Amen! Since Vatican Two even the Roman Catholic Church admits this. Unfortunately, most churches try to exclude people rather than include them.

But this is not true at Amazing Grace. Here in this place among God’s people we welcome all people and through the power of the Holy Spirit we love them to Christ. Here, we make no differences. We realize we are all sinners in need of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. We come here to please God and experience God in one another. We experience the real presence of Jesus Christ in this community of faith. Personally, I experience Christ when I see the Three Amigas: Guadalupe, Araceli, and Angelica. I also see Christ in Luis, Birri, Irma, Angel, Krystal, and of course my beautiful wife Robyn. Amen? Amen! We the people, the church, at Amazing Grace are united and connected in and through Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God! Amen? Amen!

But do we realize what God has given us and what Jesus continues to give us? We are tremendously blessed because we have the Holy Bible. Do we realize the first Disciples of Jesus did not even have Bibles? They had to depend on oral tradition to learn about Jesus or only individual parts of the Bible. We have the entire Holy Scripture available to us. And by simply reading the Bible we come to know the living God in Christ. Brothers and sisters if you are not reading your Bibles then start today. Start by reading the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. By reading the gospels with your hearts you will discover Jesus and eternal life. Amen? Amen!

We also have been given the Holy Spirit that keeps us united us one body and continues to teach us and strengthen us.

There was a man named Yates who was a sheepherder. He was very poor and struggled to feed his family but at least he owned his ranch. For years he struggled to survive until one day an oil company came and asked if they could drill for oil on his land. He agreed and the oil company drilled and discovered and immense oil field. Yates became a millionaire immediately! But for years Yates struggled in poverty even though he was literally sitting on a fortune. Brothers and sisters, we are very much like Yates. We have been blessed with Jesus’ words in the Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit but we live our lives spiritually bankrupt. We do not have to live this way! There is a much better life that Jesus promises us if we simply trust him and believe Him. And this new life lasts starts here and now and lasts forever. Amen? Amen!

Oremus: Lord Jesus, keep us united in faith and love as your children…in order that all people will believe in you…empower us to embrace your Word and the Holy Spirit so that we can live with you forever…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen.