In Fr Paul’s absence Anne O’Brien, our Director of Mission, continues to present this week’s reflections and today reads from the John’s Gospel (17: 11-19) in which Jesus, raising his eyes to heaven, says ‘Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one, as we are one’. consecrated, that is, set apart and dedicated to keeping the name of God holy. By remaining ‘consecrated in the truth’, the disciples come under the protection of Jesus and the Father himself. For even as the disciples exercise their ministry in the world with authority from Jesus, they have to connect with the Evil One. But they are assured of God’s protection as we read here in John’s Gospel. Jesus links his own consecration and mission to that of the disciples. As long as they are committed to keeping the truth – and not peddlers of falsehood, deceit, and lies – God’s own word of truth will preserve them. Remembering that today is the memorial of St Justin, Anne shares a little about him before concluding with a prayer. St Justin was born in Samaria in around 100AD. He studied various philosophies and was converted to Christ around the age of thirty. He taught in Ephesus; opened a catechetical school in Rome; and wrote treaties defending the Christian faith. Justin gave us the most ancient description of the Baptism rite and the Eucharistic celebration. He died a heroic martyr’s death during the persecutions of Marcus Aurelius. Anne closes with this prayer: Oh God,You, through the folly of the Cross, Wondrously taught St Justin, the martyr the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ Grant us, through his intercession that having rejected deception and error we may become steadfast in the faith. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Anne notes that, in this Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father to protect the disciples since all holiness comes from the Father. The disciples are