Today’s Catechism sections discuss the prayer of Jesus in John 17. Supporting material comes from St. Augustine’s Tractates on the Gospel of John.

Article 3

THE PRAYER OF THE HOUR OF JESUS

2746 When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father.43 His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church.

2747 Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the "priestly" prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly "consecrated."44

2748 In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ:45 God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.

2749 Jesus fulfilled the work of the Father completely; his prayer, like his sacrifice, extends until the end of time. The prayer of this hour fills the end-times and carries them toward their consummation. Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet expresses himself with a sovereign freedom46 by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh. The Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator. Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer.

2750 By entering into the holy name of the Lord Jesus we can accept, from within, the prayer he teaches us: "Our Father!" His priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord's Prayer: concern for the Father's name;47 passionate zeal for his kingdom (Glory);48 The accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation;49 and deliverance from evil.50

2751 Finally, in this prayer Jesus reveals and gives to us the "knowledge," inseparably one, of the Father and of the Son,51 which is the very mystery of the life of prayer.

IN BRIEF

2758 The prayer of the hour of Jesus, rightly called the "priestly prayer" (cf ⇒ Jn 17), sums up the whole economy of creation and salvation. It fulfills the great petitions of the Our Father.

St. Augustine discusses the prayer of Jesus in John 17 in his “Tractate 104 on the Gospel of John”.

2. When, therefore, He had told them on what account He had spoken all things, namely, that in Him they might have peace while having distress in the world, and had exhorted them to be of good cheer, because He had overcome the world; having thus finished His discourse to them, He then directed His words to the Father, and began to pray. For so the evangelist proceeds to say: These things spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son. The Lord, the Only-begotten and coeternal with the Father, could in the form of a servant and out of the form of a servant, if such were needful, pray in silence; but in this other way He wished to show Himself as one who prayed to the Father, that He might remember that He was still our Teacher. Accordingly, the prayer which He offered for us, He made also known to us; seeing that it is not only the delivering of discourses to them by so great a Master, but also the praying for them to the Father, that is a means of edification to disciples. And if so to those who were present to hear what was said, it is certainly so also to us who were to have the reading of it when written. Wherefore in saying this, Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, He showed that all time, and every occasion when He did anything or suffered anything to be done, were arranged by Him who was subject to no time: since those things, which were individually future in point of time, have their efficient causes in the wisdom of God, wherein there are no distinctions of time. Let it not, then, be supposed that this hour came through any urgency of fate, but rather by the divine appointment. It was no necessary law of the heavenly bodies that tied to its time the passion of Christ; for we may well shrink from the thought that the stars should compel their own Maker to die. It was not the time, therefore, that drove Christ to His death, but Christ who selected the time to die: who also fixed the time, when He was born of the Virgin, with the Father, of whom He was born independently of time. And in accordance with this true and salutary doctrine, the Apostle Paul also says, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son; Galatians 4:4 and God declares by the prophet, In an acceptable time have I heard You, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; Isaiah 49:8 and yet again the apostle, Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 He then may say, Father, the hour has come, who has arranged every hour with the Father: saying, as it were, Father, the hour, which we fixed together for the sake of men and of my glorification among them, has come, glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.

Footnotes

43 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17.
44 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 13, ⇒ 19.
45 Cf. ⇒ Eph 1:10.
46 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:11, ⇒ 13, ⇒ 19, ⇒ 24.
47 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:6, ⇒ 11, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 26.
48 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:1, 5, ⇒ 10, ⇒ 22, ⇒ 23-26.
49 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:2, 4, 6, 9, ⇒ 11, ⇒ 12, ⇒ 24.
50 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:15.
51 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:3, ⇒ 6-10, ⇒ 25.