Today’s Thoughts: In some ways the image created by John in his Gospel today can be a bit confusing. In today’s Gospel Jesus talks about “the world.” He says. “If the world hates you, realize that it hates me first.” We might be led to believe by this statement that “the world” is bad, that there is nothing good about “the world.”
If we look at Jesus’ statements about “the world” in this section of John’s Gospel in this way then how do we reconcile this image of “the world” with Genesis 1:31, which tells us that God created our world good or John 3:16, which tells us that God so loved the world.
“The world” that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel today are those people who have rejected Jesus. In Jesus’ time and in our time, there is good and bad in “the world,” there is life and death, there is blessing and curse, there is good and evil. There are some in “the world” who will and do hate us. Rejection of Jesus and his message is alive and well today. There are people who reject the Gospel, who reject Jesus, who reject faith. They are “the world” that Jesus warned us about.
Just because it has been over 2,000 years since Jesus it does not mean that rejection and hate have gone away. It does not mean that we are immune from the hate and persecution that Jesus encountered. We might not have to carry a wooden cross through city streets and die on it, but we will be hated and persecuted because we believe.
The question might be how do we deal with this? I think Pope Francis has given us a clue, he says that our “weapons” of self-defense are the Gospel, humility and meekness. In other words, we are not to be like those in “the world” who hate, persecute, those who sling mud, criticize and judge. We are to be people of the Gospel, people of compassion, forgiveness and love. We are to be Gospel people in humility and meekness.
You might say these “weapons” go against every human instinct. When challenged, when persecuted our instinct is to strike back but that is not Jesus’ way and as people of faith it is not our way. If we truly know Jesus, if we truly believe then hate and persecution does not matter what does is bringing life to the presence of God through forgiveness, compassion and love!
Have a great Saturday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...