Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts20,28-38; Resp. Psalm: Ps68,33-36; Gosp. Accl.: Jn17,17; Gospel: Jn17,11-19
Today's readings present us with two last wills and testaments. In the gospel passage, our Lord gave one of His last wills as contained in the Last Supper discourse that we have been reading for some time now. Our Lord prayed that His disciples be one. He had done the work the Father gave Him to do. Through the word and example of His life, the disciples had been kept in the name of the Father.
The Lord testified that He guarded His disciples. He protected them from the enemy, the evil one. Even the one that was lost was given all the opportunities to change course but remained deaf to all appeals. The Lord was desirous that His joy be fulfilled in His disciples. He foretold that the world would hate those who believed in His name because they were not of the world, just as He was not of the world.
Knowing the capacity of the evil one to lure the hearts of believers away from the truth, He prayed that His followers who were going to remain in the world, continuing His work, should be kept safe from the evil one. As He was sending them into the world, He prayed that they be sanctified and consecrated in the truth.
Our first reading also contains a farewell discourse, the last will and testament of Paul, the apostle of the Lord, to the elders of the Church of Ephesus. The elders were asked to take heed of the responsibility given to them to feed and shepherd the flock of God entrusted to them. They were to guard against enemies within the flock, those who would disguise as believers but were not.
They were also to be careful of enemies without, those who were outside the flock, who hated those who believed in the name of Jesus. They were to be alert, just the same way Paul was while with them. Paul told them that he gave them a model of leadership that they could emulate: he was a leader who never exploited those he led. He never coveted anybody's property but worked to earn his living. He gave rather than receive. He gave his entire life into the work of making Christ known.
The word of God today is a call to duty. As believers, what legacies are we building up for ourselves, what testimonials are we writing? At the end of our lives, what will we be happy about? What achievement for the work of God will we point to? We have the example of our Lord and of His faithful witness St. Paul to spur us on today. Are we going to heed the Lord's call to start working immediately?
Let us pray: "Grant graciously to your Church, O merciful God, that, gathered by the Holy Spirit, she may be devoted to you with all her heart and united in purity of intent." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.