Daily Gospel

OCTOBER 3, 2020 SATURDAY

I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 
                                                                                                                             John 17: 15-16

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are part of, participate in, and live in this world, as people of faith. But ultimately, we do not belong to this world. These days I often remind myself of John’s version of the Lord’s Prayer. I like one line of an old gospel song you might have heard — “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” There’s more. God expects us not to waste our time while life passes on.

Many feel exhausted by the news – especially right now. I’m paying less attention to it, and look for healthier, more spiritual ways to “spend” my time. This election year is crazier and darker than any previous ones. Lies fly from every direction. The Coronavirus and a divided nation, masks and no masks, what and if to expect a “new” normal life – confronting racial injustice, white supremacy – the economy, jobs, the underclass suffering, health care for too few. I could go on. Chaos and divisiveness can make us feel hopeless, dazed and uncentered.

Jesus’ prayer in John — some say – is the second “Lord’s Prayer.” These two verses take me to a clearer and more centered place. We are not removed from the world. Jesus prays for the Father to protect us from evil, in whatever form it takes. We no more belong in this world, Jesus says, than he does. He came and still is here to be with us, to redirect us from fear, death, and destructive ways. He touches this world with the hope of heaven – now.

I pray more these days, read divine texts, and other spiritual writings. I write more in my journal — approach it with more intention. I pray the Offices and prayers with more focus and attention. Spiritual practices remind us this world is not our only home. They draw us into the life Jesus promises — abiding in him, as he and the Father abide. The Spirit – the Mystery undefined, yet so real and present, if we stop and wait for it to come. Our true house is not a place of fear and disorder, threats, powers of hatred and violence. It is a house of love, where God abides. Jesus invites us to discover this house within – a place where the Father waits for you — your real home — a place to find renewal, refreshment, and strength to live more fully in Christ — in this world.

God’s peace, love and grace holding you this and every day, Fr. Steve
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