Consecrated In Truth
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act" ~ George Orwell
In today's Gospel (John 17:11b-19), we look in on Jesus as he prays to God in the waning moments before his ascension to the Kingdom over which he will ultimately preside, assuming his just place at the right hand of the Father. As he lifts his eyes up to Heaven, Jesus prays:
"Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. 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 except the son of destruction in order that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them so that they also may be consecrated in the truth."
Jesus' prayer to the Father offered up on behalf of the faithful is a threefold plea, with each of the three components rooted in the pursuit of God's truth
Jesus first prays for unity among his disciples ("Holy Father keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one."). We seek to emulate the unity that Jesus shares with God and the Holy Spirit, the literal "pouring forth" of the latter to be celebrated in a few short days on Pentecost Sunday. This unity reveals itself in the form of the Holy Trinity, that which is the fundamental cornerstone of our Catholic Faith. This unity is a core tenet of God's truth, which is unchanging and everlasting: God as three consubstantial persons or hypostases - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three persons being distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature". In the 12 Apostles we witness 12 men of varying professions, personality types and perspectives, drawn together by the Word Made Flesh, their friend Jesus, their "truth" so to speak.
It comes as no coincidence that our Holy Father Pope Francis recently urged the faithful to pray for Christian Unity. The Pope proposed that "Beginning with the baptism we all share in common," Christians should move beyond divisions towards finding a way to work together to bring the mercy of God to the Earth. God's Mercy is yet another core truth of our Catholic Faith, and it too is unchanging and everlasting. A theme begins to emerge: Surely that which unites Christians of every sect, denomination and tradition far outweighs that which divides us. In a day and age when Christianity is coming under attack at an increasingly alarming rate, living the truth is of paramount importance, and it can only be achieved through Christian Unity.
Jesus then goes on to pray that His disciples will maintain their fervent desire to do God's work, being careful not to be caught up in the trappings of Earthly possessions and achievements ("I gave them your word and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world anymore than I belong to the world").
Yes we are born into a finite earthly existence and it is here that we must "give to Caesar what is his.” (Mark 12:17). Jesus even stresses this when he states "I do not ask that you take them out of this world.” After all, the journey is what the journey is and it must be experienced in accordance with God’s Plan for us. But as God promises, we are ultimately made for eternity, just as Jesus was. Jesus then goes on to say "As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world." So if Jesus was sent into the world to preach and live the truth, and we were in fact sent into the world for the very same reason that Jesus was sent into the world, well....once again, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that is indeed consecrated in the truth.
Finally, Jesus prays to the Father that the faithful would be protected from evil ("I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the Evil One").
We of course make that same plea at the tail-end of the "Our Father", a prayer given to us by Jesus hence its alternate title "The Lord's Prayer", when we ask God to "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". Evil of course serves as the enemy of the truth, oftentimes cloaked in the guise of "progressive" thinking, a term chosen by the elites who have coined it with subtle temerity, implying that those who refuse to stray from long held truths have turned their back on "progress." This often repeated and thus subsequently often failed way of thinking neglects to realize that the truth is neither old nor new, but instead eternal.
St. Jerome once said "We know that the church will be harassed by persecution until the end of the world, but it cannot be destroyed. It shall be tried but not overcome for such is the promise of an omnipotent God. Whose word is as a law of nature."
........and whose word, I might add, is that which is unchanging and everlasting. Neither old nor new but eternal. Whose word is consecrated in the truth.