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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2013
(Part 49)

CONSECRATED TO GOD

May 15, 2013
Today’s gospel: John 17:11-19


Jesus said that those who believe in him will go greater works than he did, because he is going to the Father (Jn 14:12). Jesus goes back to heaven but his work on earth continues. We are to be his instruments for this continuing divine work. “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.” (Jn 17:18). Since the work is much larger, territorially (the whole world) and with regard to the number of people to be reached (all peoples), then Jesus’ disciples are tasked to do greater works.

So Jesus went to heaven. “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.” (Jn 17:11a). Did Jesus then leave us to fend for ourselves? No. Jesus made important provisions for us.

First, Jesus entrusted us to the Father. “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me” (Jn 17:11b). Jesus is God’s Son and he is the Christ. We too have been restored as children of God and carry Jesus’ name as Christians. Just as the Father took care of His Son, so also does Jesus pray that God would take care of us as well. This is very important. Just as Jesus carried out the plan of God for the world, we too continue with carrying out that plan. As such, we are important and crucial to God’s will being accomplished in the world. If so, then we can trust that God will always be there for us.

Second, Jesus entrusted us with God’s word and consecrated us in the truth of that word. “I gave them your word” (Jn 17:14a). “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” (Jn 17:17). When we proclaim Christ, we proclaim he who is the truth, and we proclaim the truth of God’s word. When we work such that people meet Christ, we continue so that they will live Christ. That is a life of obedience to God’s word. As we make disciples of all the nations, we teach them to observe all that Jesus has commanded.

Third, Jesus entrusts us to himself, as he consecrates us. “And I consecrate myself for them” (Jn 17:19a). We are consecrated to Jesus, not by our unilateral action, but by Jesus’ own action. Jesus acknowledges that we belong to him. Jesus himself allows us to walk in his footsteps. Jesus gives us the great privilege of becoming his instruments. As such we can look to Jesus’ protection. “When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost” (Jn 17:12a). This is very comforting. As we face intense spiritual warfare, we fight under the cover and protection of God.

God has done His part. We need to respond. Jesus says we will do greater works, but we need to become fitting instruments. How will this be?

First, we must know that we are in the world but are not of the world. “They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” (Jn 17:16). We are a people set apart, a people called to holiness. Just like Jesus, we live and work in the world, but we do not belong to the world. We are citizens of the Kingdom.

Second, since we do not belong to the world and thus do not conform to the ways of the world, we must know that the world will oppose us, and will oppress us. As Jesus avers, “the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.” (Jn 17:14b). We must be prepared to face the world’s hate, even as we show love to those who hate us.

Third, we must “be consecrated in truth.” (Jn 17:19b). We must show the way and live the truth of God’s word in our lives. We must obey all God’s commands. We must always stand for what is right and just and true.

Fourth, we must never betray the cause of Christ. Jesus himself chose and appointed us. We must not disappoint him, by turning away, by lukewarmness, by proclaiming another gospel, by remaining in conflict with other Christians. Otherwise we will remove ourselves from the mantle of God’s protection. As Jesus said of Judas, “none of them was lost except the son of destruction” (Jn 17:12b). How truly unfortunate if we start out in the Spirit and end in the flesh.

Fifth, we must maintain our unity with other Christians. Jesus prayed “that they may be one just as we are.” (Jn 17:11c). Granted that Jesus also came to divide--the sheep from the goats, those who believe and those who do not, those who promote his cause and those who betray his cause, we still must strive for unity in the Spirit. Even as we have disagreements, we must practice the virtues of tolerance, patience, forgiveness and charity.

We today are called to the New Evangelization. Jesus has gone back to heaven, but he will return. In the meantime, we are to work to prepare for his second coming. As we do our work, we encounter the evil one, but God is there to protect us. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.” (Jn 17:15). Ultimately, Jesus will also take us out of this world, and bring us to heaven.

So Jesus has gone up to heaven, back to the Father. “But now I am coming to you.” (Jn 17:13a). That is his great joy. We too rejoice in Jesus, and in the privilege given us to continue his work on earth. “I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.” (Jn 17:13b).

With joyful and grateful hearts, let us be about the work of the New Evangelization.

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