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 fashion show of iniquity. Violence, stupidity, and greed show themselves in progression. Although Jesus can say, “God so loved the world that He gave his only Son...,” it remains a place of temptation seeking to destroy the soul. 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 created the world as good only to see it compromised when the woman and her husband consider themselves as so good that they are equal to God.
Now Jesus is reversing the trend. He does not want the world’s mire to pollute his disciples. He gives them the truth of God’s love. By self-sacrifice for the good of one another they will overcome the world’s tendencies to self-promotion. 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 selfless love.