There are two important ideas in today’s Gospel reading: the truth and the world. When Jesus speaks about ‘the world,’ he often means the powers of the world; those who hated him and opposed him. Here, he says that his disciples ‘do not belong to the world,’ because he has chosen them. Just as worldly powers condemned Jesus to death on the Cross, so too they will hate and persecute Jesus’ followers.
The rulers of the world hated Jesus because he spoke the truth, without fear. He condemned injustice and the abuse of power. He took the side of the poor and the powerless. No wonder the powerful hated him and, in the end, tried to silence him. Jesus knows that his disciples can expect the same treatment. They will speak the truth, and worldly powers will try to silence them. Jesus prays to his Father to ‘consecrate’ his disciples – to set them apart, for the sacred duty of speaking the truth that they have learned from him.
As disciples of Jesus, we too are consecrated in the truth. Jesus calls us to speak the truth and to live the truth, even if the world doesn’t want to hear it. It’s not an easy vocation; but the world needs to hear the truth of Jesus Christ.