Today’s Gospel: John 15:18-21
The world HATES you.
Growing up, I was always told not to use the word “hate.” Even now, hearing someone say it makes me recoil, as if I have put my hand into too-hot dishwater. It’s too strong. “To hate something means to believe that it should not even exist,” said my childhood Sunday School teacher. “It would be better if that person had not even been born.”
While hers is not a strict dictionary definition of the word “hate,” it helps shed light on this passage. If we are following Christ, our path is out of step with the way of the world. Our way, Christ’s way, is so threatening that the world wishes to will it out of existence. Jesus was persecuted to death. If we are following him, we also should expect persecution for our faith.
We do not belong to the world or to the powers that govern it. We belong to Christ, who chose us out of the world. Our identity as Christ-followers places us at odds with the world. How can we expect the world or its powers and governments to protect and defend us in our faith? In our relationships and interactions with the world around us, let us remember to whom our allegiance lies and prepare accordingly. We should not expect sympathy or solidarity from the world as we do Christ’s work.
When we mark ourselves with the Sign of the Cross this week, let us remember that we are both claiming our identity as Christ’s followers and putting ourselves outside the embrace of the world.
Jesus, when conflicts arise between my faith and the values of the world around me, remind me that I belong to you. Help me to resist the temptation to try to avoid the world’s scorn by sacrificing my convictions.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Abbey Dupuy