Sometimes when God speaks to us, it doesn’t immediately seem like such good news. We may well have had a call or even a gentle moving from the Lord, and are afraid to act on it. Today’s Scriptures speak to those of us who are sometimes hesitant to do what the Lord is calling on us to do.
I think St. Paul must have been exhausted by this point in his life. As we hear of him in our reading from Acts today, he is saved from one angry mob, only to learn he is to go to another. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. He has borne witness to Christ in Jerusalem, but now he has to go and do it all over again in Rome. And underneath it all, he knows there is a very real chance he is going to die.
In the Gospel today, Jesus prays for all of his disciples, and also for all those who “will believe in me through their word.” And that, of course, includes all of us. He prays that we would be unified and would be protected from anything or anyone who might seek to divide us from each other, or even from God. He says that we are a gift to him, and that he wishes us to be where he will be for all eternity.
What we see in our Liturgy today is that God keeps safe the ones he loves. If he calls us to do something, he will sustain us through it. Maybe we’ll have to witness to Jesus all over again or we’ll have to defend our faith against people in our community or workplace – or wherever – who just don’t understand. We might well feel hesitant at these times, but we can and must go forward, acting on God’s call. When we do that, we can make our own prayer in the words of the Psalm today: “Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.”