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 a den of iniquity. Although Jesus can say, “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son...,” it remains a place of darkness, the realm of Satan. For this reason, Jesus says in today’s reading, “I do not belong to the world.” The ambivalence goes back to the Genesis where God creates the world as good, but then it is compromised when the woman and her husband sow havoc by considering themselves as equal to God.
Now Jesus is reversing the trend. He will not allow the world’s mire to pollute his disciples. He has imparted to them the truth of God’s 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 him will take them to far away places to preach his name. They will not be ensnared by the world’s seamier side because Jesus prays for them in the gospel today.
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 our charity.