“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one” (Jn 17:11).
Jesus is well aware of the temptations of the world and recognizes that the disciples will need the protection of his intercession and that they will remain faithful only if they remain in his love and in relationship with him. The unity that the Father and Son share is an eternal communion. Jesus, as the Son of God, continued to be one with his Father, while fully experiencing his humanity. As a human being, Jesus faced the same temptations present in this world that we face. The difference is that with each choice that he made, as a human being with a free human will, he chose to say yes to his Father at each and every opportunity, and so their unity remained intact and deepened.
Jesus sought the same unity that he shares with his Father for his disciples and he seeks the same for us today, that we may be one as he and the Father are one. Yet, he is not going to pull us out of the world for that to happen. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One” (Jn 17:15). The disciples then and us today, are to do as Jesus did. We are to develop a relationship with God, come to know his will, and share it with those we encounter in our realm of influence. We are not to be transformed by the world, but we are to allow God to transform us by the renewal of our mind and heart. In this way, we can participate in changing the world, as God works through us one person at a time.
Following the will of God is not easy to do. Many distractions, diversions, and temptations pull at us and attempt to draw us away from being faithful and true to God, ourselves, and who God calls us to be. Many times these distractions not only appear to be, but are good things. The challenge is not that we are being good or doing good, but are we doing what God is calling us to do?
I have struggled much of my life because I have had and pursued many interests in many areas, and so I have been pulled in many directions. Since my ordination in 2013, the challenge has increased as I have become more and more aware of the needs of others and the many ministries to be a part of. I am not able to do half of what I feel drawn to do, but I continue to pray and seek what God would have me to do. Since my time in Los Angeles, I have also been meditating more each day.
We can deepen our relationship with Jesus and his Father when we slow down our pace, so to become still within and in this way better be able to hear his voice. The Holy Spirit will also reveal to us the gifts that he has imparted, and above all guide us to clearly know his direction and grant us the courage to follow it. If any fear or anxiety arises about what we are invited to do, we just need to remind ourselves that God will provide the means and support. We are not meant to do what he calls us to do alone. God’s grace is sufficient, God’s grace is enough.
We will accomplish that which God the Father requires of us when we continue to turn to him for guidance and he will place the people and the means, reveal to us the temptations and pitfalls and instill in us the desire for us to complete the task that we have been given. We just need to be willing to change, to be transformed, to grow, and to extend ourselves out of our comfort zones to serve others. When we risk doing so, it will be worth it. Because in the end, as we follow the will of God and trust his support, we will experience his joy, we will find meaning and fulfillment in our life, and ultimately, through the love of the Holy Spirit, we will grow in our oneness with Jesus, the Father, and each other.
Photo: Juniors finishing finals last year, graduates this year!