7TH SUNDAY OF EASTER – B
John 17: 11-19
A dying person, if given the time to pray, will surely pray for his/her loved ones and will make sure that things are in place for them after he’s/she’s gone. This is the spirit of the Priestly Prayer of Jesus prayed the day before he died; it contained his innermost longing for the sake of his disciples. Knowing that he would be physically away from his disciples when he goes back to his Father, he prayed for them; he made sure that he entrusted and consecrated them to his Father the way he entrusted and consecrated himself to his Father.
Jesus prayed that his disciples who are in the world should be protected by the spirit of the world because they are not of the world: “to protect them from the evil one; they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world” The word “world” used in the Priestly Prayer of Jesus is more than just the physical world we live in. It is still the material world but in the spiritual sphere with values opposed to the Gospel like selfishness, hatred, violence, injustice, consumerism. In short the false value of the world is sin expressed in the many forms of worldly allurements. That is why Jesus said that his disciples are IN but not OF this world.
The physical world we are living in, being the creation of God’s Wisdom, reflects the beauty and goodness of God. Gerard Manly Hopkins says “creation is charged in the grandeur of God.” All creatures, big and small, reflect the mystery and magnificence of God! St. Augustine calls them “vestigia Trinitatis” (imprints of the Trinity)! It is all because there is an inherent goodness in the heart of creation which is an overflow of the inner-Trinitarian life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit expressed in charity (love in action)!
Humanity in all its evil, being created in the image and likeness of God, is basically good. Sin has destroyed the inherent goodness of creation thereby injecting the un-Godly values that continue to plague humanity. Precisely the Incarnation of God (the Word becoming flesh) is ordered towards the salvation of humanity and all creation. But the mission of Jesus was not just saving the world rather the revelation of the inner-Trinitarian self-gifting of God through his life, death and resurrection (the Paschal Mysrtery). Therefore Jesus both reveals God as the Trinity and at the same time saves humanity.
We Christians are called to do more than just living in the world. What makes us different from the rest of humanity is our consecration. Our consecration being disciples of Jesus is the interior mark that sets us apart from others living in the world: “For their sake, I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.” This consecration finds its expression in mission: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” We are called to be catalysts in bringing back that basic goodness in creation through a life of Christian witness that refuses to comprise with the values of the world.
This consecration is our privilege; the mission is our responsibility!