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.”
Many of us who live in the community life, and even married couples feel that they are not respected, their ideas were rejected, and often fell unjustly judged and treated. They may be right in their own perspective, and sometime factually correct too. However, Jesus invites us to look at life differently and see in all these unjust treatment, whether there is a divine way of looking at, or seeking the divine will. If we learn to see things with a divine approach, then these painful moment of life, can be transformed into a graceful moment, for we will feel very close to Jesus crucified.
Among the Lord's followers, especially among the new converts, it was Paul who could taste or savour the true forgiveness and change that faith can bring. He understood well what conversion had made him unable to think as he had thought before, old way has given to the new way of life. He is like a new-born baby, with a new birth, the same as the Lord asked of Nicodemus. Jesus wishes that we all reborn once again in Him.
The persecution allowed him to recognise his new belonging, belonging to Christ, to heaven. It is no longer him, it is Christ in him. At the same time, like him, he recognised that others persecuted the Lord's disciples in ignorance. Thus, forgiveness was easily granted, for he knew that the Lord forgives all the innocent. It is important for Christians today to learn from Jesus to forgive and accept the crosses of the day. What a joy it is to give our lives for the one who loves us!
Action of the day: Learn the joy of the cross.
“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!