"I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world" says Jesus to His disciples. Jesus, the only Son of God, has revealed the Father in a way that no one else ever could. He reveals Himself particularly to those whom he has elected in His mercy and love, not by any merits of our own. This election is the promise of seeing and knowing God as he actually is. The three points for today: revelation, election, and destination.
No one is fully able to comprehend God except God Himself; hence, the only Son completely and entirely reveals the Father. In speaking the Son, the Father says everything there is to say about Himself because the Son has the same essence, the same power, the same wisdom, the same goodness as the Father. Everything that the Father has, He gives to the Son, except for His Fatherhood, and everything that the Son has, the Father also has except for his Sonship. In this way, the Son can truly reveal to us who the Father is. Moreover, no one else is able to surpass the revelation of Christ Jesus. The Muslim and the Mormons both believe in revelation after Christ, but as Christians who believe in the Divinity of Jesus, we cannot believe their stories. No one could reveal God better than God Himself! It is the Son, alone, who reveals the name, the identity, of the Father.
Jesus particularly reveals the Father's name to those given to Him by the Father. We call this election. In the Gospel today, Jesus says, "I revealed your name to those whom you gave me…" Before all time, God selected us and gave us the grace to respond in love to the invitation of the Father. God selected us not because we loved Him, but because He loved us. This is critical because salvation is a gift, and act of mercy, not something God owes us. On our own, we wouldn't be owed anything but an eternity of suffering. That's why rely on God's mercy, His initiative in choosing us and gracing us with revelation. We don't go around boasting of our good works because anything done apart from God's grace isn't worth boasting about. It is to us lowly sinners that God has given an intimate knowledge of Himself.
"A bountiful rain you showered down, O God, upon your inheritance; you restored the land when it languished." That bountiful rain is God's grace which heals our infirmities and is the result of God's choosing to save us. We should experience bountiful rain in the reception of the Eucharist and Confession. In the Sacraments, we should being experience God's love and mercy changing our lives. It should be like a bountiful rain because we are God's inheritance. We are the people He has claimed as his own portion.
It is out of the world that the Lord calls us. Once we were a languishing land, but once we received that bountiful rain of revelation, and accepted it in faith, we are restored. We are called out of this world filled with sin and suffering into new life, an eternal life. In today's Gospel, the Lord tells us what this eternal life is: "Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ." This is eternal life, that they should know you. This might not sound so exciting at first, having knowledge doesn't exactly thrill us. When we think of knowledge, we immediately think of knowing facts: dates, places, monuments, and scientific stuff. This isn't the sort of knowledge that Jesus has in mind. The knowledge he is referring to is the deeper, more intimate knowledge that two spouses have of each other. When two friends have a profound knowledge of each other, the memory alone brings joy to the heart. Or consider the joy you feel when you give your friend a gift that you know he will love. It is that knowledge which lies at the root of your joy. The grasp of who that person is the depths of his heart, that brings joy.
That deep intimate knowledge of a friend, my brothers and sisters, is the knowledge that Christ Jesus promises to us. We are called; we are predestined to an intimate knowledge of the Triune God. God Himself! No one is more beautiful, more good, or more true than limitless, infinite God. It is this sort of knowledge that St. Paul was willing to die for. He said, "Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course." The earthly life has many goods in it. God has indeed made a fine creation, but it pales when it is compared to the Creator Himself. Today, when we come before this holy Eucharist, stop… consider what you are uniting yourself to, and set your hearts again on the eternal destiny revealed by God Himself to those whom he has called out of the world.