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Benedict XVI dedicates General Audience to prayer of Jesus at Last Supper

2012-01-25

CATECHESIS FULL TEXT

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the priestly prayer which Jesus offered at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 17:1-26).  Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation.  He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. 

Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles.  His priestly prayer can thus be seen as instituting the Church, the community of the disciples who, through faith in him, are made one and share in his saving mission.   In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbours and the whole world.  Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him.

I offer a warm welcome to the students of the Bossey Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies in Switzerland, and I offer prayerful good wishes for their work.  Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!