Of Prayers, Farewells, and Truth
“As you sent me into the world, so I send them into the world.” ~ John 17:18
Prayers and goodbyes abound in both today’s 1st Reading (Acts 20:28-38) and Gospel (John 17:11-19) wherein we find Paul bidding farewell to the Ephesians and Jesus offering up a final earthly prayers for his disciples, poised to return to the Father by way of his Ascension into heaven.
In the case of Paul, his warning to the presbyters of Ephesus resonates with our modern day Church all too well. “I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them,” Paul warns them, for he was a realist with an adroit knack for understanding the flawed and sinful human state.
We live in a world where God’s truth is oftentimes abandoned for that which is expedient, politically or otherwise. Far too often these savage wolves who seek to pervert the truth come from within our church, whether they spread false teachings or in the case of cleric sexual abuse, something even far worse. Paul did what he knew had to be done on the heels of such dire warnings; he knelt down and prayed with all of them. We too must take a page from Paul’s playbook and pray for both our fallen world and our fallen church. Seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother, for She may very well be our last and best hope.
In today’s Gospel (John 17:11-19) Jesus prays in earnest for those who have been given to him, his true disciples. He points out that those who are of him are no more of this world than he is, however he also knows that it is the Father's will that they run the race, compete well and share the good news of the Gospel, the very Gospel that Jesus himself lived out as the word made flesh. He then offers up a very simple yet profound prayer. He asks God to “consecrate them in the truth.” https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Consecrated-In-Truth. For God’s word is truth, and Jesus gave his life so that the truth would be made known to all. As such, Jesus essentially consecrates himself for us so that we too may join him one day in Heaven. He shields us from the evil one by way of prayers, scripture, the sacraments and ultimately, the cross.
This is our truth. Jesus is the truth personified. This is our food for the journey, until our temporary farewell one day morphs into our return home to the Father.
“Your word, O Lord, is truth; consecrate us in truth.”