Holy Father, keep those you have given me in your name, so that they may be one, as we also are.
When I was with them, I kept them safe in your name; and not one was lost, except the one who was already lost, and in this, the Scripture was fulfilled. And now I come to you; in the world I speak these things, so that those whom you gave me, might have joy—all my joy within themselves.
I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world, I do not ask you to remove them from the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.
I have sent them into the world as you sent me into the world; and for their sake, I go to the sacrifice by which I am consecrated, so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
In today’s gospel reading Jesus says about his followers something very important but which is not easy to understand correctly. On the one hand, he says to his Father, “I do not ask you to remove them from the world,” meaning that as a rule his followers will be ordinary people raising kids and making a living—not hermits or monks or solitaires living apart from the world. But, on the other hand, twice he insists in saying, “They are not of the world.” So here he clearly draws a line between his followers and the rest of the people living in the world. His followers are not of the world, meaning that their values are completely different from the values of the world. In other words, they value forgiveness (not vengeance), respect for life (not abortion), conjugal fidelity (not divorce), premarital chastity (not sexual promiscuity), self-denial (not self-promotion), truthfulness (not lies), etc. For example, Christians profess what Jesus in today’s gospel reading is reported to have taught (and which is not found in the gospels): “Happiness lies more in giving than in receiving.”
Our values are very different from those of the world, and our mission is to convince the world that our values bring true happiness. It is a great mission.
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