FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON EVANGELIZATION AND MISSION
CONSECRATED IN TRUTH
May 20, 2015
Today’s gospel: John 17:11-19
Jesus has ascended into heaven, having accomplished his mission on earth. He knows full well that he is now leaving us in the world. Jesus prays to the Father: “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” (v.11a). Knowing that the flock will be assaulted by wolves from without and from within, Jesus prays that we might remain united in his name. “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (v.11b).
The world will be antagonistic to those who live their lives according to the word of God. “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.” (v.14). The fate of a true Christian is to be oppressed and persecuted because their witness is disdained by a world steeped in sin and darkness. The world crucified Jesus. So too will the world attempt to do to those who follow him.
Jesus leaves us in the world because we have a task. We are to proclaim the good news of salvation in him. We are to continue with what he started, proclaiming the Kingdom of God. “As you sent me into the world, so I send them into the world.” (v.18). We are to witness to Jesus. To witness is to be a martyr. It is not loss of life or limb or property that should be the Christian’s concern, but loss of his soul if he does not persevere in living Christ. Thus Jesus sends us into the world, but prays for our protection from the enemy that brings spiritual death. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.” (v.15). Our place right now is in the world, but not in the world of the enemy. “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” (v.16).
We must be aware of all the above truths, coming from the word of God. “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” (v.17). We must live out God’s truths, especially regarding our mission in the world.
- We are to live Christ, to grow in holiness and true discipleship.
- We are to be a people of worship.
- We are to be of one heart and one mind, united in vision.
- We are to be stewards of God’s grace and resources, making these available for our common work.
- We are to share Christ, to do a massive work of evangelization and renewal.
- We are to help build the Church of the Poor.
- We are to give our all, even unto death.
Yes, Jesus has gone back to heaven to the Father. “But now I am coming to you.” (v.13a). We rejoiced at his resurrection and ascension. Yes, he has left us in a still darkened world. But we must rejoice at the privilege of continuing with his work on earth. “I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.” (v.13b).
Jesus has done his work. Now we must do ours. Jesus has given us everything, and has given us the privilege to continue with his work. He has dedicated us for this special purpose, a work that is divine. “And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may also be consecrated in truth.” (v.19).
Onward to the New Evangelization!
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