If someone is especially arrogant, it’s not uncommon for people to say: “He really thinks he’s God’s gift to….women, soccer, the sales team, whatever.” It’s not meant as a compliment. It’s a put-down.
We don’t wish to be seen by others in this way. At the same time, Jesus does want us to see ourselves as God’s gift. “Father,” he prayed in today’s gospel, “they (meaning us!) are your gift to me.”
We are God’s gift to Jesus. And we aren’t a gift he wants to return or exchange. We’re a gift he wants. Because he prays for us, we might even say we’re a gift he asks for; he included our names in his wish list.
But as today’s gospel reminds us, Jesus does far more than pray for us. He also dwells with us and in us, shares his glory with us, reveals his name to us, guides us to perfection, unites us with our Christian brothers and sisters, and showers us with the same abundant, unconditional love he’s shared with the Father from all eternity.
Jesus tells us this, not to make us arrogant or smug, but to fill us with gratitude and hope. So hopefully no one will put us down by saying we think we’re God’s gift to something. But we can thank Jesus, that he embraces us, as God’s gift to him.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/nab/060911.shtml