Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 17, 11b-19

While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except one who was destined to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.

But now I am coming to you and I say these things in the world to share my joy with them to the full.

I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.

I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect 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, I have sent them into the world,

and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus has just prayed to the Father to protect his disciples. Until now he had been the one to gather them - he called them one by one - teach them, correct them, defend them, and lead them on the path to salvation. He had preserved all of them except one, Judah, who had preferred to follow his own plans and distanced himself from those of Jesus. But the eleven were about to be left alone, without his physical presence. And Jesus knows that they are about to face difficult trials. That is why he is concerned for them. Will they be able to withstand the assaults of the evil one who will try everything to pull them away from him and from the Gospel? He knows that any division among them would leave them an easy prey for the evil one. And so he prays, “Protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.” The unity between the Father and Son becomes not only the measure of the disciples’ authenticity, but also the rationale for the Christian vocation. Salvation is the communion of all with the Father and the Son. And it is in communion that we find the fullness of joy, as Jesus himself says, “so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.” The disciples’ joy is not an easy and predictable optimism, but the commitment to overcome every division to create communion among all. This work does not simply come from our good will, but from listening to the Word of God, which pushes each of us to abandon our selfishness and destroy all enmity in order to create a more brotherly world, with greater solidarity. The believer’s work clashes with the individualistic and selfish mentality of this world. And this clash is inevitable. It is a struggle that begins in the heart, as we each try to uproot our selfish instincts, and continues in society. Jesus does not pray for his disciples to be taken out of the world; that would be the very negation of the Gospel. Rather, Christians are called to be a leaven of the brotherhood in the world. This is their vocation: to transform the world and make it more and more a world of brotherly love and affection. Jesus prays along these lines: “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” There is a common thread that ties the heart of the Trinity - when the Son said to the Father, “Here I am, send me” - to the way Jesus sends the disciples of every age into the world to continue God’s own work.