The Holy Gospel according to John (17:11b-19)
Lifting up His eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are one. When I was with them I protected them in Your name that You gave Me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them Your word, and the world hated them because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world but that You keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate Myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”
Reflection: These words are uttered by Jesus at the Last Supper, in the terrible shadow of the Passion. However, Jesus makes it clear that they are intended to be read in the light of the Resurrection. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
That other thing I thought of was love; a protective, parenting love. A love that can be relied on in times of trouble. It is the night of His betrayal. Soon, Jesus will be tried, beaten, and broken on a cross. His disciples will desert Him. His church will reject Him. The Roman government will crucify Him. There is so much for Him to pray for in these last moments of His life. God the Father will remove this suffering or give Him the strength to endure it. But what does Jesus pray for in this moment? He focuses on His disciples.
On the night when He was betrayed, Jesus prays for His disciples. He does this out of love, a love that is fierce, protective, and parenting. He will not let go of the ones His Father has given Him. In this prayer, we overhear His love. It is a love that will protect us to the end.
That is what is so beautiful about reading this prayer in the season of Easter. This love of Jesus continues. It lives on. He has conquered the forces of sin, death, and the Devil. He has risen from the dead and ascended into Heaven and now sits at His Father’s right hand. And He does it by lifting His people in prayer. Jesus knows what will happen to His disciples. He knows they will be confronted, accused, beaten, and martyred. But He does not pray God would take them out of this world. No, Jesus has no fear of this world. “In the world, you will have trouble,” He says, “but fear not, for I have overcome the world” (16:33). So, Jesus prays to His Father to protect us as we engage in His mission in the world.
Action of the Day: Take a moment right now – place yourself in the presence of the Holy Spirit and PRAY. Pray for your family, pray for your friends, pray for your co-workers, pray for those you struggle with – say a prayer that speaks of your love, your caring, and your protection for them.