May 23, 2012 - Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter.

Acts 20:28-38
Psalm 68:29-30, 33-36
John 17:11-19

Eventually we all have to turn over the fruits of our hard work to someone else. Whether you have spent forty years building up a company, sixty years maintaining a home, or eighteen years guiding and protecting a child, when the inevitable moment arrives that you have to let someone else take over, it is not possible to simply let go in an instant.

We see this emotion in St. Paul, in the first reading, and Jesus, in the Gospel; they are both saying goodbye. They have both been preparing people for years and the end of the preparation is near. God’s will called each of them to something else. They are ready to do the will of the Father, but they each take one last moment to say goodbye.

Jesus offers his goodbye in the form of a prayer to the Father. He is praying to the Father, but he knows that the disciples are listening. He prays that the Father will consecrate his disciples in the truth. He contrasts being consecrated in the truth to being from the world. His disciples will have to live in the world in order to convert the world, but he does not want them to be from the world. Instead, he wants them to be in the truth.

Jesus knows that he is leaving us in a dangerous place. The world is a dangerous place for a Christian. More dangerous for what it does to our soul than what it might do to our bodies. He knows that he has prepared his disciples. He has given them the greatest possible weapon against the world: truth. He has told his disciples the truth, but he knows that that will not be enough. He has prepared them as well as possible, but they need more. He asks the Father to wash them in the truth, until every lie is gone. Every false promise of happiness that the world tells us is destroyed by the truth that our happiness is in God alone.

If Jesus was willing to leave the Church in the hands of his eleven Apostles, we can surely give up control over anything we have taken care of. We do not need to fear. Not because the world is not dangerous (it is dangerous), nor because our preparation has been perfect (it has not been perfect), but because we have a Father in heaven who is guiding all of history to his good purpose.