Wedding Lectionary: John 17:20-26

Chapter 17 of John’s gospel contains a Last Supper prayer by Jesus to his Father. As a farewell address, one might question its place in the wedding Lectionary. Sure enough, it is not often chosen. I cannot think of a single instance in many dozens of weddings through the years.

Like many biblical readings, what is said about other people in other relationships may be applied to the union of woman and man in matrimony. Let’s read:

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

“I pray not only for my disciples,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me,

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,

but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,

that the love with which you loved me

may be in them and I in them.”

Very Johannine. Love finds its source in God. Human love finds inspiration from God and God’s self-definition as Love. Lovers participate in the very essence of God as they devote themselves to mutual caring and affection.

This reading is very dense with worthy ideas. Jesus prays for unity. Then he prays that his followers be brought to perfection. He then picks up on the notion of their closeness to him, their seeing the Truth, and experiencing it.

Why wouldn’t a couple choose this reading? I can’t think of a good reason. It speaks of love, explicitly. It connects the love and union of Father and Son and uses this to allude to the union and love of husband and wife. It underscores God’s love and loyalty for those who are faithful. All good reasons, I’d say. Wouldn’t you?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Rite of Marriage, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Wedding Lectionary: John 17:20-26

  1. Inge says:

    Hi Catholicsensibility,

    I’m not responding to this particular bibletext as such, but to all your postings (at least a lot of them) at once. My fiancee and I are getting married in october, and we have found a lot of help in your postings, at choosing the lectures and the gospel for our weddingceremony. So thank you very much for posting all those bible-fragments and your thoughts about them.

    God Bless,


  2. Alison from Australia says:

    We had this for our Gospel reading when we got married 31 years ago. I remember it stood out at the time, first of all as being different from every other Gospel we’d had at friends’ weddings, but then, as having the message we wanted for our own marriage, not just our wedding. As you say, why wouldn’t you have this one?

  3. Joseph Anthony Dsilva says:

    Howdo we choose the acclamations to this reading ?

    • Todd says:

      The text that goes with the “Alleluia” is the gospel verse. Your prep book will give you four options. The challenge is to find the musical setting that fits. This is a decision your music director at the church can help you with and explain the particular resources available from music books. Good luck with your planning!

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