John 17: 11-19
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
The Priestly Prayer of Jesus continues. In these Bible verses, Jesus asks his Father to guard the disciples. Jesus says that he himself has kept them safe while he has been with them. Only Judas Iscariot has been lost to him, and this was known in advance by God and foretold in Scripture; the other disciples have been prepared for the betrayal, in order to help them not to lose heart.
The disciples are going to need to be strong on the journey ahead of them. They will need God’s help continually to sustain them on their mission to preach the Gospel and establish the Church. They will suffer persecutions, and ultimately, for most, martyrdom. Jesus asks the Father to preserve them in faith, to preserve their sanctity.
In these verses, the word ‘world’ has multiple meanings. The world was not made to be evil. It was made by God and God saw that his creation was good. It is for the world that Christ came into the world, to restore that initial and essential goodness, to return mankind to our proper inheritance.
The world, though, does not last and can often be at odds with the life of the spirit. Furthermore, through our actions, people have made some aspects of the world evil and ugly, this following the prompting of the evil one, who tempted us to follow him in sin and error. In this sense, the world is God’s enemy, tempting us still to embrace transitory, fleshly pleasures, at the expense of the immortal inheritance which can be ours.
Through their belief and their fidelity to Jesus, therefore, through receiving Jesus’ word, the disciples are not of the world. They have given themselves to the life of the spirit, and now are sent by Jesus into the world to communicate this gift to all. Through their missionary activity, they are sanctified, and through Christ’s consecration of himself to the Father on the cross. Through this, all Christians are sanctified. The words taught to us by Jesus are truth. The Word is truth.
‘The world, the flesh and the devil are a band of adventurers who take advantage of the weakness of that savage you bear within you. In exchange for the glittering tinsel of a pleasure – which is worth nothing – they want you to hand over to them the pure gold and the pearls and the diamonds and rubies drenched in the living and redeeming blood of your God, which are the price and the treasure of your eternity.’ St Josemaria Escriva