”If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you.
Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Gospel of John is set apart from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. John’s Gospel speaks to the heart of Jesus – who he was as a person. God sent Jesus into the world as a model; Jesus shows “the way” to the Father. Jesus’s heart was with people, “I pray for them…”. Jesus implores God to help him move his people to take his words and his life seriously. He is one with his Father, his followers must be one in him. God’s Creation is at stake here. Jesus is clearly laboring in prayer for the world.
In the words of St. Ignatius, the purpose of The Spiritual Exercises is “to conquer oneself and to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.” This retreat requires one to walk with Jesus through every step of life paying attention to who Jesus was and why he did what he did. At the end of the second week, the retreatant makes an “election”, a decision to give his or her whole self to the Lord. Less than one hundred percent is not good enough, the Lord wants the whole self, the whole heart.
“May they be one in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me…” When we make an “election,” a decision to be a better disciple of Christ, a better listener to God’s Spirit in our hearts, we are working to bring about God’s work. This is not a small thing, God gives us respect and responsibility as co-creators in growing His world.
—Greg Richard has served at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, OH for thirty-three years. He has been the director of Campus Ministry, Theology teacher, Theology department chair, coach, and Adult Chaplain. He is now the Vice President for Ignatian Identity.