The Father’s Word is Truth
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from 365 Days with the Lord
JESUS prayed, “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are. 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.”
2007 In this second part of His High-Priestly Prayer, Jesus makes a very important statement about the status of Christians in reference to the world in which they live. He says: “They do not 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.” What exactly does Jesus have in mind here?
Perhaps a text from the apostle Paul can help us to understand what Jesus is saying. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes in reference to those he calls “the enemies of the cross of Christ” the following words: “Their minds are occupied with earthly things.” Then he adds: “But our citizenship (politeuma in Greek) is in heaven.” In other words, Paul is saying that the true homeland of Christians is heaven. Here on earth they are only migrants in transition. The apostle Peter says the same thing in his First Letter: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul” (1 Pt 1:17). In his High-Priestly Prayer, Jesus expresses the same idea with different terms. He says that Christians are not of this world. This means that Christians do not accept the values of the world, those values which center around selfishness, deceit, vanity, violence, brute power, slavish conformity, hedonistic search for pleasure at all costs, etc. Our values and inspiration are the complete opposite. We want to center our lives around service, self-gift, sacrificial love, non-violence, honesty, simplicity, truthfulness, chastity, commitment, etc.
However, Jesus also insists that we are in the world. Apart from a very exceptional vocation, we are not called to leave the world and live as monks or hermits. Our role does not consist in escaping from the world or in avoiding all contacts with nonChristians. On the contrary, we are called to be “the salt of the earth… and the light of the world” (Mt 5:1316), and we are to do the work God sends us to do.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
2008 Jesus’ prayer has four key ideas. The first is protection for His followers in a hostile world (vv. 11f): Jesus would remain with His followers forever and defend them whenever the going gets rough. For that, He wants us to be one, as He and His heavenly Father are one.
The second concept is the world. On this, Jesus is paradoxical. On one hand, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, the lamb who would take away the world’s sins. On the other hand, the world is a kind of Satan which is opposed to everything that Jesus’ mission represents.
A third key concept for Jesus’ followers is joy – Jesus’ joy. Even those who are suffering have an instinctive awareness of their need for a joyful message, and the message of Jesus is, in the final analysis, the only real, lasting, deep joy that the world can know.
In the fourth and last concept in Jesus’ prayer (v. 19), He mentions a very important aspect of life – truth. He speaks of His followers as being consecrated (literally “made holy”) in truth (Greek aletheia, “unconcealment” or “revelation,” removal of a veil). We can be dedicated to anything: A job, a cause, a nation. But consecration requires that we trust more in grace than in our personal capabilities.
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
2009 Keep them from evil: The world is obviously not a paradise, but neither is it a horrifying place to run away from. The evil one is real. The evangelist John refers to him as the “ruler of the world” (12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He is God’s and Jesus’ adversary. But Christ’s power is supreme: at his “hour” which is the accomplishment of his mission through his death and resurrection, the ruler of the world is driven out. Jesus conquers the world; hence, the disciples are to take courage (16:33).
Jesus now prays the Father to watch over the disciples. With his return to the Father, the disciples will be sent to carry out his mission to the world, to bear witness to the truth amid incomprehension, unbelief, rejection, and persecution. He does not ask the Father to take the disciples out of these challenges and troubles; after all, Jesus himself had to face them. Instead, he prays the Father to take care of his disciples that they may not be overcome by the evil one. This is the same petition in the Lord’s Prayer: “Deliver us from evil” (Mt 6:13). The evil one tempts Jesus to avoid the pain and scandal of the cross. He will tempt the disciples to abandon their faith in Jesus when faced with trials and persecutions. The grace of the Father will prevent the disciples from falling.
2010 THE EVIL ONE
Scripture scholar Raymond E. Brown says that the discovery of the “Dead Sea scrolls” in the caves of Qumran in 1947 proves that at the time of Jesus, a variety of thoughts existed. Among these are ideas that would develop into Gnosticism in the second and third centuries after Christ. The stress of the Fourth Gospel on “dualism”—light and darkness, good and evil, “this world” and “not of this world”—is also that of the Qumran community. The Gnostics would push this dualism too far, saying that matter and the physical world are evil, while spiritual realities and transcendence are good.
In the concluding part of the Last Supper discourse, Jesus prays for himself (17:1-5), for his circle of disciples (17:6-20), and for those who will believe in him (17:21-24). The disciples are those whom Jesus chose in the world to represent him, in much the same way that Jesus represents the Father. Among other things, Jesus prays that the disciples be “kept from the evil one.” This is an acknowledgment of the certain truth: being representatives of Jesus, the disciples will face the reality of a battle. They will have to live and work in the midst of opposition. The “Evil One” (see Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:30) is the embodiment of all that is opposed to God, and of God’s ways and designs as revealed by Jesus.
2012 I guarded them, and none of them was lost. Jesus prays to the Father for his disciples that they be holy. They are to be like Jesus who has done what he should do, kept those entrusted to his care, obeyed the Father’s will, and offered himself to fulfill his mission. Jesus prays to the Father to care for, watch over, and look after the disciples.
Jesus does not pray that we become rich and famous, that we earn many degrees and titles, and that we assume power and authority. He prays that we be holy and that the Father take care of us. And the Father indeed looks after us with love, compassion, and forgiveness. The Father guides us, guards us, and strengthens us in our journey to him.
As we fulfill our Christian duties, we should not fear ridicule even from persons who are dear to us. We should not give up even when threatened with the cross and crucifixion. We should take courage from the assurance of Jesus praying for us and of the Father looking after us. Jesus is interceding for us with the Father. We have nothing to fear.
How do we respond to the prayer of Jesus for us to the Father?
2013 Consecrate them in the truth. To consecrate is to set apart for God. Jesus asks his Father to set his disciples apart for God. It is in the truth, in Jesus the truth, that they are consecrated. Jesus consecrates himself so that they may be consecrated in the truth.
While they are set apart for God, the disciples are not separated from the world. They remain in the world but do not belong to the world; they live as possessions of God. They are consecrated so that they may do mission in the world as men/women for God. They are thus to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world because they are in the world as persons belonging completely to God.
Be in the world and work for its salvation, as Jesus did and does, and as St. Isidore the Farmer with his wife St. Maria de la Cabeza lived.
Live in the world, but do not be worldly —you do not belong to the world.
2014 KEEP THEM IN YOUR NAME. The “name” marks a person’s individuality, distinguishing one from another. In biblical language, it speaks for the whole person. Thus, when we are baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” we are inserted into the life and mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.
When Jesus says that he protects his disciples “in the name” of the heavenly Father, he means that he cares for them in the person of and with the authority of God himself. With his return to the Father, he asks the Father to continue protecting the disciples from the dangers of the world and keeping them from sin.
Jesus leaves his disciples with the awareness that they will undergo trials. But in these trials they are “consecrated,” set aside for holiness. They are not spared from suffering on account of their faith in Jesus. But through these tribulations, they will be saved.
“The clouds that cover the sunshine, they cannot banish the sun. And the earth shines out the brighter when the weary rain is done” (Anonymous).
2016 I DO NOT ASK THAT YOU TAKE THEM OUT OF THE WORLD. The task of Christ’s followers is to live in the world and be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.” Except for some who have very exceptional vocations, Christians are not called to leave the world and live as hermits or as religious in contemplative or active communities. No, Jesus makes it clear that we have the important task to transform the world, the often limited environment in which we live. Christ needs us on the “battlefield” where good and evil clash. A Christian is a missionary who brings God’s love and mercy into a world full of hatred, war, and cruelty.
Recent popes have spoken again and again of the urgency of the New Evangelization. This does not mean leaving one’s country and going to the jungles of Africa but penetrating the concrete jungles of our cities where too many Christians have forgotten what it means to be Jesus’ disciples, or they feel powerless to do good because evil seems to dominate our society. Many teenagers claim to be atheists or agnostics. They say they have not found convincing reasons to believe; neither have they seen examples of how faith in Christ makes any real difference in everyday life. In other words, they have not met enough Christians who carry out what Christ wants them to do: proclaim that, in spite of much evil, there is a loving God.
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
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