Sunday before Pentecost
St. John 17: 13-26
This Sunday is sandwiched between two important feasts of the H. Church - namely Pentecost and Ascension. As Christ ascends to the Father�s right side we read a passage in which Christ had prepared his disciples for his departure. The reading is taken from the �high priestly� prayer of Jesus who prays to the Father on behalf of his disciples. In this passage (St. John 17:13-26) we are reminded of our role in the world.
Firstly the church�s mission is in the world. Christians are not supposed to live away from the world. The world is worthy of God�s redeeming love (St. John 3:16) and we are to reflect that same love. Jesus tells the Father �As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world (St. John 17:18).� Christians are a sent people. The world Apostle means sent one and the church continues the Apostolic mission by being sent into the world. We have been sent into the world to continue the work of Christ. Christ is made present in the world through our own lives. This is why we are the salt of Earth and the light to the nations.
Secondly we are not to be of the world. Although we live in the world we are not to live as worldly ones. We have to recognize that the world is still in need of redemption. We do not belong to the world anymore than Christ belongs to the world (St. John 17:14, 16). Christ requests the Father that his disciples remain in the world but that they are protected from the evil one (St. John 17:15). We can be assured of divine protection. We can find solace in the divine protection of God the Father. Our life in the world is filled with hardships are trials. We can say with the Psalmist, �My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2).�
As we prepare for feast of Pentecost let us reflect on our calling with respect to the world. Let us work as sent ones in the world while at the same time not becoming tainted with worldliness.
Dn. Sujit T Thomas, New York