Readings for this Sunday:
Acts 1:15–17, 20a, 20c–26
Psalm 103:1–2, 11–12, 19–20 (Rx 19a or Alleluia)
1 John 4:11–16
It’s not unusual to hear some version of “I come to Mass to get away from the world for one hour.” It comes sometimes as homiletic critique: “We shouldn’t be hearing about politics or the news at church. I get enough of that at home.” Or a warning to kids: “Don’t touch that.” “Don’t go there.” “That’s only for priests.” It’s saddest in its most subtle form: “I’m not holy enough for that.”
Comments like these protect the holy from human contamination. However, the church long ago condemned gnosticism, which claimed that everything earthly, including our human bodies, was evil. Still, we continue to ignore what both creation and the Incarnation teach us: that the world and all of us in it are good—very good, in fact—good enough for God’s Word to dwell within. Ultimately these comments are excuses from doing Christ’s mission.
Jesus’s prayer today in verses 18 and 19 assert that we have been consecrated, that is, made holy as Christ is holy. And holy not for safeguarding but for service in and to the world. We are made holy for the purpose of making the world holy. We can’t do that by withdrawing from it but only by drawing all that is human, our griefs and joys, our sins and our saintliness, into the sanctifying life of the Trinity.
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus praying for all of us, the faithful followers here on Earth. Jesus hopes we will be kept safe from temptation and will be consecrated to the truth. Jesus recognizes we are human as Jesus was human, but with the awareness that we, like Jesus, belong in the heavenly kingdom. As Jesus was sent into the world to save us from our sins, we are also sent to be disciples of Jesus until we can join Jesus in heaven. What has been on your mind in your prayers? What temptations do you wish you could be protected from? How can you bring truth to the world during your earthy life to prepare for eternal life?
Now Glad of Heart Be Everyone
G-8726 · SA, organ, C instrument