May 11, 2011 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

Today's Readings

The words of Jesus today contain many mysteries. Each line alone would suffice for hours of contemplation. For instance, Jesus tells us that he did not come to do his own will but the will of the one who sent him. What does it mean for Jesus to do the Father’s will rather than his own? It is first necessary to consider that Jesus has two wills: he has his human will which comes from his human nature, and he has a divine will which comes from his divine nature. He is one person with two natures, therefore he is one person with two wills.

At first thought, we might believe that Jesus is saying that he obeys the Father when his human will disagrees with the Father’s divine will. We saw this in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus, in his human will, did not want to suffer and die but still chose to do the Father’s will. This is the easier interpretation of Jesus’ words today. We understand this because we too are human, and we know the conflict between our will and what is right. Jesus is like us, but he always chose to do what is right.

What about the divine will of Jesus though? The divine will of the Son of God is in perfect union with the will of the Father. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons, but they are perfectly united as one God. The Son does not want something that the Father does not want. The Holy Spirit does not have his own plans. Yet Jesus still speaks of sending the Holy Spirit. He also, in another place, says that the Father will send the Holy Spirit. He often tells us, as he does today, that he was sent by the Father. To be sent somewhere by someone implies obedience to the will of another: being sent means being sent by someone and being sent by someone means obeying.

So even within the Trinity, a mystery that our minds cannot penetrate, there is obedience. Obedience is central to God and therefore to the universe. The Son would rather be sent than go on his own, even though he would have gone on his own anyway. We should learn from Jesus to obey not only when we disagree but also when we agree. Obedience is not a necessary evil. Happiness is found living every minute under obedience.