Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11-19)
The world for the Gospel of John, as for most of us, is both bad and good. Jesus can say, “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son...” and also, in today’s reading, “I do not belong to the world.” The ambivalence goes back to the Book of Genesis where God creates the world as good but then the woman and her husband sow havoc into the world by considering themselves as equal to God.
Now Jesus is reversing the trend. The world and its mire will not pollute his disciples because they have the word (the truth) of God which is love. They will overcome the world’s tendencies to self-promotion by loving one another even at the expense of self. Jesus has shown them the way. Soon they will follow. Their love for the world will take them to far away places to preach God’s love. Still they will not be ensnared by the world’s seamier side because Jesus has prayed for them.
His prayer protects us as well. There is no point in trying to flee the world. As long as we have bodies, the world will be part of us. In fact, we have a mission in the world as surely as the apostles in Acts. We too have to give witness to God’s love for the world by acts of care.