Surviving as a Sheep amid Wolves

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I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou should keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:14-15)

The prayer of Jesus in today’s Gospel passage is both prophetic and instructive. Firstly, Jesus highlights the hatred of the world. “The world has hated them because they are not of the world.” St. Paul in today’s first reading mentions the fact that “fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock…” (Acts 20:29). As Christians we are constantly the subject of hatred by wolves who pretend to love us.

Secondly, despite the hatred of the world, Jesus does not pray that we should be taken out of the world. Jesus prays that we should be protected from the evil one. Even though we wrestle against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12), we are rest assured of God’s protection. We do not wrestle as victims but as victors, because Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33). Do not fear.

Thirdly, Jesus defines the Christian life as a missionary enterprise. “As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18) To be a Christian is to be on a mission: to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. We are not here to become rich or successful but to know God, love God, serve God and be happy with God forever.

St. Paul in today’s first reading mentions the fact that during his stay, he did not covert anyone’s silver or gold or apparel but worked with his hands to meet his necessities. Do not be envious of others (1st Timothy 6:10). Like Jesus who was a carpenter, do not see work as a punishment.

Fourthly, Jesus says “They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” This world is not our home. We cannot have it all and we cannot expect everything to be perfect in this side of existence. We only need to be content and grateful. “Be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you.’ Hence, we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Finally, Jesus prays that we should be sanctified in the truth. What is the truth? Jesus answers: “Your Word is Truth.” (John 17:17). Soak yourself daily in the Word of God.

Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit fill our hearts, and enkindle in us your Sacred Fire. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Study: Acts 20:28-38, Ps. 68:29-30,33-36, John 17:11-19)*

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu


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