11 May 2016
Yesterday, Jesus said something odd. He said (to the Father), “I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me.” And it’s odd because we so often hear the call to “go out and make disciples of all nations.” It’s a pretty central idea to evangelization and the “New Evangelization” in the Church. And, yet, there was Jesus saying, “I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,” Father.
And today we hear both Saint Paul and Jesus expressing their concerns and love for “the flock.” They’re not looking outward; they’re looking inward to the body of the faithful. They want to make sure that the faithful, the “flock,” the Church is strong and well cared for. And so, in today’s Church where we put a lot of emphasis on “going out” and sharing the gospel, maybe it’s good to remember that only a strong body of the faithful is able to evangelize.
Jesus is giving us, perhaps, permission and even a precedent to “take care of our own.” As much as we want to bring Christ to others, we can’t do it if we ourselves are not the living and true Body of Christ, the flock of the faithful. And so, let’s remember the obvious; let’s remember to pray for each other, to build each other up, and to spend time as a community of faith, gathered around our Shepherd, and being at peace with him.