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 (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
As I read today’s Gospel I kept remembering a phrase that one of my Jesuit superiors was fond of saying, “Being a Christian is not for sissies.” Jesus does not pull any punches when he tells us that the world will hate and persecute us just as it has done to him. This might not seem that inviting to us, who wants to be hated or persecuted?
We live in a world where we are #1. We only need to take one look at our entertainment to be reminded of who is important (Youtube, Itunes, Myspace etc). Things are “our way” or “on demand” when we want it, wherever we want it. We can watch videos or read updates about people we know without ever having to talk to them. This is the message of our world today, and though in small does it may be manageable, it can be problematic if this is the only world we immerse ourselves in.
A world where I am the only thing that matters is in direct opposition to the message of Christ. We need to look no further than the Cross to be reminded of sacrifice of self. The message we learn from following Jesus is one of engagement with others (especially the outcasts) forgiving others (our friends and enemies) and our will is not the most important but that God’s will be done.
Have there been situations in your life where you were more likely to stray from the message of Christ? Have there been people in your life who have been an inspiration or support in your desire to follow Christ? Let us pray today for the grace of inspiration and perseverance as we focus on the teachings and example of Jesus.
—Br. Pat Douglas, S.J, is Vocation Promoter for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus and a residence hall chaplain at Creighton University, Omaha, NE. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.
Lord, we pray for those suffering persecution because they have remained faithful to you. In their moments of profound discouragement and fear, give them the grace to move forward sustained by your grace. And should we or those we love experience injustice, rebuke, or persecution, sustain our commitment to be loyal to you.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team