The Gospel reading assigned to today is the account of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples. Jesus prays to the Father that his disciples will not be taken out of the world but kept safe from the evil one. In this context the author of this Gospel is using the word ‘world’ to represent human society organizing itself without God. If we profess to be disciples of Jesus, we should not expect to be taken away from our troubles in this life. We should not expect some kind of escape route from pain. While there may be many good reasons for some people to leave the hustle and bustle of modern living to go to a monastery and pray, this is not what is being suggested by Jesus here. In this passage, Jesus seems to want his disciples, the vast majority at least, to stay put. To stay where they are and not crave an easy life at the hands of a society organizing itself without God. Jesus does not promise his followers an easy ride, but he does promise ultimate victory. Two positive things can be said here. Firstly, it is in battling against the storm that we can find joy. To share a tiny bit in Jesus’ suffering is pure privilege. It enables us to get a glimpse of the love of God for us revealed in Jesus. Secondly, and linked to this, if we are united to Jesus through his suffering, we can join in the promise that just as Jesus gives himself to his heavenly Father, so, in turn, the Father will fully accept all of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus closes with these words “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they may also be sanctified in truth.” Why does this happen? Because God’s plan was that Jesus was God and could do this for us. This truth surpasses any temporary pain we might experience in this life. The key is to hold onto this. This is why Jesus prays that we are kept safe from the evil one. Let’s use all our energies to reject the evil one so that we may always know fullness of life with Jesus.
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
1 John 5:9-13