Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “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 truth.” (John 17:11-19)
We all go through periods of self-doubt. We all, from time to time, question our “value” or the purpose of our lives. Today’s scripture stops us dead in the track.s It reminds us that we are valued because of His love for us and for the purpose for which we were created.
On the eve of his sacrifice on the cross and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one”. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples and for all who would believe in him. Jesus’ prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of Christ’s body.
What motivated Jesus to lay down his life on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world? It was love – love for his Father in heaven and love for each and every one of us who are made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, fear, death, and hopelessness. Jesus trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation
We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman (1801-1890) wrote: “God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.”
Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God’s truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God’s goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ. Is your life consecrated to God?
Today, take a good long look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself, “I am highly valued. Jesus Christ, the Lord of all creation, considered me worth dying for. He treasures me so deeply that he is now consecrated to me for all eternity. He will never abandon me. He will never leave me. He will never forget me.”
Prayer of The Day
“Jesus, I am humbled by your commitment to me. Come, Lord, and fill my heart. Help me to consecrate my life to you.”
Jesus is suggesting in the gospel reading that the essence of eternal life will consist in being in a loving relationship with God and with Jesus. Eternal life consists in a communion of love between us and God and God’s Son, a communion in which we will experience God’s love to the full and respond to that love in full. All of the New Testament strongly suggests that this experience of loving communion with God will not be a merely private experience. Rather, our communion with God in love will at the same time be a communion with others.