Sunday's Gospel (John 17:11-19):
'Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
keep those you have given me true to your name,
so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them,
I kept those you had given me true to your name.
I have watched over them
and not one is lost
except the one who chose to be lost,
and this was to fulfil the scriptures.
But now I am coming to you
and while still in the world I say these things
to share my joy with them to the full.
I passed your word on to them,
and the world hated them,
because they belong to the world
no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world,
but to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world
any more than I belong to the world.
Consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world,
and for their sake I consecrate myself
so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’'
Do you feel lost? Do you sometimes feel that Jesus isn't there?
These are common feelings experienced by all human beings, even those who have a deep and vibrant faith.
Yet Jesus tells us that we needn't feel lost. As Jesus says in this Gospel - by using the example of Judas - the only reason we become lost is because we choose to be lost. Being lost is turning our backs on Jesus; being lost is denying him; being lost is not trusting in him and his love. It is our decision to be lost. It is not Jesus' decision. It is our own.
And sometimes the reasons for feeling lost are completely genuine. We may have lost a close relative to a horrific disease or illness. We may have lost our best friend in a car accident. We may even have suffered the loss of a little child at the very beginning of their life.
Yet whatever troubles we may have, Jesus tells us that we need not be lost. He encourages us to seek him out and to put all of our troubles on him. Remember, Jesus has already carried all of your troubles on his back. Every anxiety, every tear, every ounce of pain you feel in your life was borne two thousand years ago by Jesus as he carried the Cross through the streets of Jerusalem. He then took that suffering of yours and mine with him as he was nailed to the Cross and offered it up to the Father. And what happened next? Our suffering died with Jesus on the Cross. And while Jesus rose again, our suffering did not.
Brothers and Sisters, Jesus has personally felt our pain and suffering. He acknowledges our anguish because it was he who carried it and it was he who banished it.
As human beings we will continue to shed tears, feel pain, anxiety, distress and anguish. It’s in our nature. But never forget that Jesus is there for you. He completely understands your suffering because he has already suffered it for you. If you do one thing this day, try to surrender a little more to Jesus. Keep close to him by talking to him and letting him know your thoughts. Pray to him and become more and more obsessed with him. That way you will never stray from his side. That way you will never be lost.