Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

The readings for Sunday, May 13, 2018:

First Reading: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Psalm: Psalm 1

Second Reading: 1 John 5:9-13

Gospel: John 17:6-19

In today’s Gospel passage, we see Jesus close to the end of his mission. We get to watch him pray. And notice that Jesus prays for those people whom he has called to continue the work he has set in motion.

This passage reminds us that we are sanctified consecrated, and sent out into the world. The not yet message of the Gospel reminds us that we have work to do And this Gospel passage reminds us of the stakes: Jesus prays that we will be protected from the evil one.

In many ways, our most basic task is to confront evil. Everything we do, everything we create, needs to be a challenge to evil. We are not to go through the world with our business as usual selves. We are not to have a self that we bring out on Sundays, in church, and our week day self, and our Saturday self. Our task is to live an integrated life, a life that lets the light of the Good News shine through us and our actions.

The thought of living an integrated life can drive some of us to distraction. How can we be sure that we are? Some of us are so distracted that we never really make the attempt.

As humans, we have a tendency to make these things more complicated than they need to be. Here again, as he so often does, Christ shows us a path towards a life of integrity.

We can pray. We are to care for everyone. We can start by praying for them.

We can begin with the easy prayers: the ones for our families and friends. And then we can move on to the difficult people. You say you have a boss who is driving you crazy, making you redo work 5 times, only to arrive back at the place you started? You could growl and grumble. But you'd use your time far more wisely by praying for your boss. Your neighbors play their music too loud and fight through the night? Pray for them. You disagree with your leaders? Pray for them. As you drive home, let yourself notice the homeless people, the ones who wait for the bus, the teenagers who look to be loitering with no place to go. Pray for them.

As you move through the day, be on the lookout for ways to be the yeast in the bread, the salt that flavors the soup. Look for ways to show Christ's love. You can do it quietly--in fact, there are plenty of Gospel passages that say you must do it quietly. You don't want to be that pious Christian that makes people feel squirmy; you don't want people to accuse you of being a typical hypocritical Christian on the days when your light flickers and dims. Radiate love, as often as you can, and you will be a far stronger advocate for God, and a person who is far better equipped to fight evil.

Each day, pray the prayer that Jesus prayed so long ago, that his joy may be fulfilled in you (verse 13). Each day, look for ways to bring that joy to others. Each day, work for beauty and peace and the defeat of evil.

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