Jesus said to his disciples; “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
I invite you to reread this Gospel in a different way. The point of interest in this gospel is not of persecution, rather the question of beloning. If we remain faithful to the Lord, he will protect us and accompany us. As we read in the first reading, we will no longer seek our own will, even in good deeds. Total dependence on God's will can help us to free ourselves from our carnal attachments.
Jesus invites us to recognise this new identity that we have inherited from his death and resurrection and to live this life on earth in a way that is worthy of that divine identity. Even though we are still in the world, our home is being prepared in heaven, with the Lord.
Thus, for us Christians, death is not the end, but a new birth in God. That is why St Paul told us, if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. In death and in life, we belong to Christ.
Action of the day : Live your life, as if your are a divine being.
«They will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me»
Fr. Ferran JARABO i Carbonell
(Agullana, Girona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel opposes the world to Christ's followers. The world represents whatever sinful there may be in our existence. Consequently, one of the main characteristics of Christ's followers is fighting all evil and sin to be found in the world and inside every man. This is why Jesus is the light of men, the light that illuminates the world's darkness. Saint John Paul II exhorted us: “so that this light makes us strong and capable to accept and love the entire Truth of Christ, and love it even more when opposed by our world.”
Neither Christians nor the Church can follow the passing fads or criteria of this world. Christ's criterion is the unique, definitive and unavoidable one for us to follow. It is not up to Jesus to adapt himself to the world where we live; it is up to us instead to transform our lives after Jesus. “Christ is the same one whether yesterday, today or always.” This should make us wonder: when our secularized society demands from us and from the Church certain changes or licenses, we are simply being asked us to move away from God. However, we Christians should be faithful to Christ and to his message. Saint Ireneus says: “God does not need anything; but man needs to be in permanent communion with God. And man's glory lies in persevering and always keep in God's service.”
This fidelity may, quite often, mean persecution: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (Jn 15:20). We should not be afraid of persecution; we should rather be afraid of not attempting strongly enough to always make God's will. Let's be brave and let us proclaim without any fear Christ resurrected, light and joy of all Christians! Let us leave the Holy Spirit to transform us so that we can inform the whole world about it!