1. “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (Jn17:11-18). Taken from today’s Sunday Gospel.
2. Before his departure from the world Jesus through his priestly prayer imparted five divine blessings to his followers: divine life of unity, divine joy, divine protection from evil, divine consecration to the truth and divine mission. These five blessings were automatic because they came from a prayer said by Jesus, the God whose will rules the world.
3. The first blessing contained in the prayer was that the apostles be one in the way Jesus and his Father is one. It is about divine life that is lived in love and unity, a unity that acknowledges difference but excludes every rivalry and conflict. Jesus wanted this for his followers for he knows that no force can destroy those who are united in purpose and mission. United we stand.
4. The second blessing is joy. He prayed that his followers would have a full measure of his joy with them. The joy of Jesus the poor itinerant preacher who had no place to lay his head was not based on material things for he had none. His joy was based on his fidelity to the Father’s will. It is this joy that he wished his disciples. Their joy will be complete when they draw it from obedience to God and not from abundance of riches.
5. The third blessing was protection from evil in the world. Without God’s protection none of us can withstand the temptations of our time coming from the flesh, wealth and the desires of the world. Jesus knew this because he was equally tempted. He has given this blessing to all his followers. This should be borne in mind when faced with temptations.
6. The fourth blessing is consecration to the truth. Truth is a person. That person is Jesus, he is God, immortal and immutable. Being consecrated to him strengthens one against the Father of Lies that rules in the world. Today lies are justified as protection of government interest. Jesus wants his followers to stand away from such darkness and stand by the light, the truth.
7. The last blessing is the missionary mandate given to the disciples in the same way that God gave it to Jesus. It is a divine mandate to bear witness to the truth to which on has been consecrated. Every baptized person has received this mandate through the baptism. Christ wants to continue teaching and saving people through his disciples. He cannot do without them. They should know that they are all important instrument of salvation in the hands of God.
8. It is one thing for you to be blessed by Jesus and another for you to protect the blessing. We know that immediately after this blessing Judas left the company of Jesus and the apostles to go and meet the high priests to collect money and betray Jesus to them. He was unable to protect his blessings. It was with his own legs that he walked out of the blessing and walked into trouble. Some blessings are like lighted candle. If you expose them to the wind they will be blown off. Safeguard your blessings. Know where you go and with whom you go. Judas went to the wrong place and met the wrong people. You are already divinely blessed. Remain divinely blessed by avoiding the way of Judas. @Vita. 16/05/21.
Be filled with the Holy Spirit.