First reading Acts 20:28-38 

I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, and its power

Paul addressed these words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:
  ‘Be on your guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you the overseers, to feed the Church of God which he bought with his own blood. I know quite well that when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you and will have no mercy on the flock. Even from your own ranks there will be men coming forward with a travesty of the truth on their lips to induce the disciples to follow them. So be on your guard, remembering how night and day for three years I never failed to keep you right, shedding tears over each one of you. And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified.
  ‘I have never asked anyone for money or clothes; you know for yourselves that the work I did earned enough to meet my needs and those of my companions. I did this to show you that this is how we must exert ourselves to support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, who himself said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”’
  When he had finished speaking he knelt down with them all and prayed. By now they were all in tears; they put their arms round Paul’s neck and kissed him; what saddened them most was his saying they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
 
 

Responsorial Psalm 67(68):29-30,33-36

R: Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth

Show forth, O God, your power,
the power, O God, with which you took our part;
For your temple in Jerusalem
let the kings bring you gifts.

You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God,
chant praise to the Lord
who rides on the heights of the ancient heavens.
Behold, his voice resounds, the voice of power:
“Confess the power of God!”

Over Israel is his majesty;
his power is in the skies.
Awesome in his sanctuary is God, the God of Israel;
he gives power and strength to his people.

 

Gospel John 17:11-19 

Father, keep those you have given me true to your name

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
 
‘Holy Father,
keep those you have given me true to your name,
so that they may be one like us.
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 the one who chose to be lost,
and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you
and while still in the world I say these things
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.’
 
 
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Embracing the world

Jesus’ love for His disciples is expressed throughout the gospels, but especially in the gestures of love, such as washing their feet and praying for them to God His Father. In today’s gospel, Jesus asked His Father to protect them, not from suffering, sickness, or even death, but from the evil one. What is evil? It is everything that may separate a person from God, who is the fullness of goodness, love, truth. On the other hand, evil is anything that destroys love (envy, greed, pride, egoism, etc.) We remember Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem as He said: “I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” (Matthew 23:27). This was what Jesus wanted to do with his disciples: to embrace them in love and protect them from the alluring temptations of the world.
 
Today, we are His disciples, and as such, Jesus continues to place us in the arms of His loving Father to protect us so that we can live rooted in His love.
 
Reflective question:
How does Jesus’ prayer touch my life today?
 
 
Acknowledgment: Reflections are based on “Prayer for Living: The Word of God for Daily Prayer Year B” by Sr Maria Jose FMVD.