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7 Easter, Year B: Protection and Joy

SUNDAY’S READINGS | May 16, 2021

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Ps. 1
1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

The Lord Jesus will not leave us comfortless, nor will he leave us without protection. He sends the Holy Spirit to be our consolation and security in a world as yet fraught with dangers, a world that hates and rejects the ones who “do not belong to the world” (John 17:14). We are, of course, in the world and committed utterly to the cause of building a more humane and just society, but insofar as the world remains addicted to sin and death, we renounce the world and register ourselves as citizens of another homeland. Christ is our home, comfort, and protection.

“Holy Father,” Jesus prays, “protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one” (John 17:11-15).

We are indivisibly one in Christ because we are secure, protected in the power that is the shared glory of the Father and the Son, namely, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit overshadows us and protects us from the evil one. Because this protection is a solemn and divine promise, we have the complete joy of Christ. We are not living in fear but in the joy of the Resurrection. Indeed, we have a divine testimony in our hearts that promises eternal life in the Son. “And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).

Amid all the risks of life, amid slings and arrows, dangers, toils, and snares, we cling to Christ as the source of eternal salvation. Protected from the evil one, we live in the power of the Holy Spirit. How shall we describe this new life?

All the baptized draw into themselves the very life of Christ. “They are like trees planted by streams of water,” says the Psalmist, “which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper” (Ps. 1:3). The cross of Jesus Christ is a new tree planted near streams of life-giving, life-changing, forgiving waters. United to the cross and buried in baptism, the life of Christ becomes our life.

Again and again, we are promised not some general sentiment of good will or kindly affection; we are promised the life of Jesus Christ in us. Speaking to a Samaritan woman, Jesus said, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water … those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life” (John 4:11,14).

Christ has prayed for our protection and has provided for our comfort. He has also become our life and salvation, our joy and hope.

Look It Up: The Collect

Think About It: Comfort, protection, strength, and fearless joy.


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