Gospel – John 17: 11-19

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
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.”

Reflection on the Gospel

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Once upon a time there was a bunch of tiny frogs who arranged a running competition. The goal was to reach the top of a very high tower.
A big crowd had gathered around the tower to see the race and cheer on the contestants.
The race began. Honestly, no one in the crowd really believed that the tiny frogs would reach the top of the tower.
You heard statements such as: “Oh, WAY too difficult!” “They will NEVER make it to the top.”
“There’s not a chance that they will succeed. The tower is too high?!” The tiny frogs began collapsing, one by one, except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher.
The crowd continued to yell, “It is too difficult! No one will make it!” More tiny frogs got tired and gave up. But one continued higher and higher and higher. This one wouldn’t give up!
At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one who reached the top! Then all the other tiny frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it.
A contestant asked the tiny frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal? It turned out that the winner was DEAF!!!

The Moral of the Story is: Never listen to other people’s tendencies to be negative or pessimistic…
Because they take your most wonderful dreams and wishes away from you – the ones you have in your heart! Always think of the power words have. Because everything you hear and read will affect your actions!
Therefore: ALWAYS be…POSITIVE and above all: do not listen when people tell YOU that you
cannot fulfill your DREAMS!

In the first reading from Acts today the writer is trying to give them a positive outlook on life. He tells them that they should not remain in fear and they will be able to do wonders in the world. He reminds the Apostles that they should wait for the “promise of the Creator “ that the Kingdom of Heaven is there for those who believe and do what Christ told them. They “will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem.” Then they will do amazing things like healing the sick. He was reassuring them that they will be able to do so much good for people because they believe in the power of God. Then he ascended into heaven!! We do not know if Jesus literally rose up and out of their sight, but he convinced them that they can accomplish great things for others. It was like when the COVID virus was first spreading across the world, and we thought this may the end of life as we know it. Then the vaccine came along, and we were given new hope. We became optimistic.

I am sure the Apostles were getting weary being fearful and wondering if they were following an impossible dream. But they did not give up trusting that Christ gave them the truth, and all they had to do was to follow what He had told them. Be positive, not negative. Believe, and you will have a new life. I am sure the Apostles were starting to fear that the wait is too long. They were weary and starting to think that they would never be able to do all that Christ asked them to do. But they were deaf to the negative remarks and started to be positive about their goal. Often, we feel that our actions for justice and peace are all in vain because we do not see the results right away. But we need to stay positive knowing that Christ will give us the strength to carry on trying to get people to love one another, be just and never give up. Christ’s Kingdom will come. It may take some time, but it will come.

Don Timmerman is a long-time peace activist, practitioner of non-violence, and a member of the Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.