Nothing can harm us when God Himself protects us from evil!

In the first reading, Paul exhorts us to support those in need—of whom there are many in our own neighborhood as well as in the wider community. We all know those who mourn, who suffer a disability or are sick, frail or aged among us, and the media bring us knowledge of refugees and asylum seekers. The psalm reminds us of the power God has given his people, but we need to be open to God’s whispering in our hearts, which often comes as twinges of conscience.By reflecting on our day, we can revisit the people, the hours and moments, and reawaken the stirrings we experienced within. Then, by quiet listening, we can discover whether we responded in love to these urgings or turned away. Lord, help me to hear your voice in all moments of my day.

 “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.” -John 17: 11

This verse from John’s gospel  shows one of the important missions that Christ gives to his followers after he leaves earth to join God in heaven. Christ wants us all to be unified. At first this does not seem to be too challenging: we are not supposed to create conflict with our neighbors and we are supposed to love our enemies. The challenging aspect of this verse is that we are supposed to unite with all people. After checking the Bible I recognized that there is no footnote that says that we should be unified only within our socio-economic class or within our nation. Christ calls all people to be unified in him. The challenging group to unify with is the unknown, faceless individual from a different part of the world.

Jesus was sent into the world by his Father for a purpose and that purpose was a mission of love to free us from slavery to sin, Satan, fear, death, and hopelessness. Jesus saw glory in the cross rather than shame. Obedience to his Father’s will was his glory. Jesus kept his Father’s word even when tempted to forgo the cross. Jesus did not rely on his own human resources and strength to accomplish his Father’s will. He trusted in his Father to give him strength, courage, and perseverance in the face of opposition, trials, and temptation. We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman wrote: “God has created me, to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him.

Jesus prays to his father for his followers and for us. He addresses His Father, saying, “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.”  So, we are to continue to live in the world, most likely right where we are now. And in that place, we have the Son of God praying that we will be protected from evil. Doesn’t that give you courage? Nothing can harm you when God Himself protects you from evil! He is truly our good shepherd, shielding us from predators. The world is full of evil. But remember: God is more powerful than any evil. Today let us join Jesus in praying that God our Father will shield us from evil. Indeed, as the Lord’s Prayer says, “Deliver us from evil.”

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