Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

We do not belong to the world: we belong to God. Today’s Gospel spells out this reality in a beautiful way.

Jesus says to the Father that He is coming home and that He tells us this so that we may share His joy completely. What does He mean? Keep reading: “I gave them your word, and the world hated them…” What word is this? The Father’s word or, rather, Word.

Yes, brothers and sisters: Jesus—the Word of God—has given us Himself, and the “world” resists us for it. Bear in mind Jesus is speaking of His Church here, the word “church” coming from the Greek word ecclesia, which means “to be called out of.” He has chosen us out of the world; we are the sheep that recognized His voice and in telling us that He is returning to His Father He is letting us know where we, too, are headed, if we follow Him.

This world is not our final destination any more than it is His. Jesus says twice in this passage that those who follow Him do not belong to this world any more than He does. He tells His Father, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.” To protect us He consecrates us—sets us apart for God alone—in truth, sending us into the world to which we do not belong. Why would He do this? We belong to Him and yet He leaves us here as He returns to the Father; He does not abandon or forget us, but rather He sends us, as He was sent. What is He doing?

Friends, Jesus has made us a gift to the world. We do not belong to the world but to Him, just as He does not belong to the world but to God, yet was sent here for the world’s sake. We are a light to the world, the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16), witnesses to the love of God. What better testimony could be given to the world who rejects Him than that of those who were once part of the same world, those who have come to know His love and truth? He is the Way, the Truth and the Life: by returning to the Father He shows us our destination, by consecrating us in the truth He protects us from going astray, and by giving us the Father’s Word—His very self—we come to have eternal life.

May 20th, 2015