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Living Joy in Community
Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
“And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep 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, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I come to this time of prayer with a desire to know you better. I want to know your truth by knowing your word. Fill me with the truth so I will be filled with joy.
- In the Name of God: Jesus lifted up his heart, prayed to his Father, and begged him on our behalf to “keep them in your name that you have given me.” Jesus’s name is the one by which “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend (Philippians 2:9-10). The name of Jesus is different from other names, for it is what it signifies: Jesus (Y’shua in Hebrew) is “savior, deliverer”; he redeemed us and rescued us. When we whisper the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus, son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” we invoke a name that is powerful in protecting us from evil and darkness. We can whisper this prayer, or simply his name, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” when we are afraid or tempted.
- Son of Destruction: Jesus referred to Judas as the “son of destruction.” Jesus had called him, allowed him into his inner circle of disciples, and treated him lovingly. What sorrow Jesus must have felt by Judas’s betrayal. “Those who do wrong deserve our tears…For the covetous man and the slanderer, and the man guilty of any other wrongdoing injure themselves most of all […] Christ repaid the man who was going to betray him with just the opposite. For example, he washed his feet, reproved him without bitterness, censured him in private, ministered to him, allowed him to share in his table and his kiss. Yet, though Judas did not become better because of these things, Jesus himself persevered in his course of action” (St. John Chrysostom). Jesus knew Judas would betray him, but he did not give up on Judas or neglect him. Jesus pursued him to the end, though eventually he was “lost.” What a beautiful challenge Christ sets before us by the loving way he treated Judas.
- Consecrated in Truth: Jesus desired that his disciples share the fullness of his joy by sharing in his Trinitarian life, “because they do not belong to the world.” Jesus called his disciples to follow him on a path that renounced earthly goods. He knew that the world would hate them, for their mission was to follow Christ and find their joy in him, and not in the attractions of the world. Their joy was fulfilled in discovering their mission to share Christ with others, and the early Christians did this as they “devoted themselves to the teaching of the Apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Simple Christian living in small community home churches spread through the whole world. We can imitate their devotion by sharing our joy in Christ with others, especially those in our parish and our neighborhood.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I want to follow you with the authentic faith of the disciples. Help me find joy in living my faith. Keep me close to you, with your name on my lips and your joy in my heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will rediscover the joy of the first Christians by inviting a friend to Mass.
For Further Reflection: Six Easy Ways to Build a strong Traditional Catholic Community.
Leah Nguyen, mom to six children ranging in age from nine to twenty-four, resides in Kansas City with her deacon husband. She graduated with a master’s degree in theology from Holy Apostles College in 2019, which helps her lead Bible studies in her parish as well as defend the Catholic faith when talking with her teenagers.