Eternal Life with the Trinity

Jesus raised His eyes to heaven, gave glory to God, and prayed for you.

Take some time and let that sink in. Jesus prayed to the Father for you. He prayed for your protection and for you to have eternal life alongside Him and the Father. Jesus wants you in heaven with Him. He loves you! Of course He has set aside a place for you in heaven.

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (JN 17:3)

I want to point out the very radical word that Jesus is using in His prayer: “Father.” In first-century Palestine, the Jewish people believed in one God but, they falsely believed Him to be a distant God, someone who was worshiped from afar. Jesus changed all this. By God becoming human an intense intimacy was established between God and mankind through His son, Jesus. Jesus expressed the greatness of this intimacy by calling God Father. And we call Him Father as well.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is telling the Father how He carried out His will: Jesus glorified God on earth with everything God gave Him, He taught the disciples about God’s love and mercy, and the disciples have come to accept and understand the words of Jesus. Notice this subtle exchange: God gives to Jesus, Jesus gives to the disciples, the disciples give back to Jesus, Jesus gives back to God.

We not only see the intimacy between the Father and Jesus—we also see the intimacy that is called forth between the disciples AND the Father and Jesus. We are called into that holy union. We are called because we are loved, and it is the Holy Spirit that unites us in communion. The Spirit is the one to reveal to us the true revelation of Christ, the love of the Father. The Spirit is the One sent to us while we remain in this world, preparing for eternal life. Jesus knew it would be hard for us. He knew exactly how hard it would be for us because His humanity lived and experienced the hardships of the same world we live in.

Jesus fully knew that He would be scourged, ridiculed, mocked, spat upon, humiliated, beaten, stripped naked, and crucified. Even so, He asked God to glorify Him in His death so that His humanity would have the strength to carry the Cross to Calvary. “I pray for them”—this is what Jesus told the Father before His Passion because He wanted us, in our own fragile humanity, to also have strength to carry our own crosses in this world.

When you think that you are weak and defeated from the constant struggles in this life, know that it is the enemy that wants to keep you down. You are strong because you are loved by God, the Father and Jesus Christ. You are a beloved and precious child. You will succeed in carrying your cross because you are filled with the same Spirit.

In the Old Testament Jacob has a dream about a ladder that went all the way to heaven and God’s angels were going up and down on it. Climb that ladder. Just as our Father isn’t some faraway God, He is intimately close to us—heaven is close as well. The gates to heaven were opened wide with the blood of Jesus. You are called to heaven, to sainthood, to eternal life.

What is eternal life? It’s a gift from God, a gift made full by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a gift completed by our self-giving back to God. Eternal life is the perfect life in communion and love with the Trinity (CCC 1024).

Conquered

I sometimes forget that Jesus has conquered death. Well, I don’t really ever intellectually forget, but I certainly don’t live like it all the time. There are days when I get tunnel-vision and I fall into the temptation to believe the lie that a certain problem or situation is “just too much.” I don’t see the way out, and I forget that He is the way. Praise Jesus that He chose to conquer sin and death out of His undying love for us, out of His desire for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Maybe someone out there, like me, needs the reminder today that Jesus conquered death. What does this mean for us? That nothing is too great or too impossible for our Lord. If He can conquer death, something that is not possible for a human being to just do on their own, He can conquer all the other things in your life that feel like little deaths. He wants to, because He wants to be with you forever. The Lord is constantly loving you and trying to capture your attention with His immense tenderness and mercy.

Because of Jesus, death does not have the final word over our existence. “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thes 4:14). What a beautiful reality of our faith. There is so much more than we can see, so many glories that God intensely desires to share with us. With Heaven as our conscious goal each day, everything shifts into place. We can be free to live fully as God is calling us to, without holding back from Him and without fear. We can love others deeply and boldly as Christ loves us. We can have joy and peace in the face of challenges and pain because we know that “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17) and that every last bit of death, pain, and suffering were slayed by our almighty God.

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” -John 16:33