Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Bishop Robert Barron
Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Gospel: Jn 17:11b-19
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.”
*United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel is the high-priestly prayer of Jesus the night of the Last Supper. Here are the first words of the Lord: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.” God is, in his innermost nature, a community of love, and God’s purpose vis-à-vis the world is to draw it into his unity. God is a great gathering force.
Jesus continues: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.” Precisely because the world is so opposed to the way of Jesus, it is always tempting for Christians more or less to flee, to seek to live in private enclaves where we can cultivate the life of discipleship.
It is true that, at times, the Church must hunker down in order to preserve its life against a hostile culture. But the ultimate purpose of the Church is never hunkering down or escaping. It is the transformation of the culture. The Church always exists for the world. If God simply took us out of the world, he would be removing the leaven necessary for the rising of the dough.