A reading from the gospel according to John 15:18-21:
18 Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
19 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.
20 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.
21 And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”
Reflection: Peace and Joy amidst Hatred and Persecution
Previously, Jesus assured His apostles of peace and joy. Now, He is warning them of hatred and persecution. Is it really possible to be at peace and full of joy even when the whole world is against us?
Following Jesus and proclaiming the gospel is indeed not without difficulties. When we live and speak the truth of our salvation, a lot of people is turned off and they start to hate and persecute us. In fact, many followers of Jesus before us had been imprisoned and murdered on account of the gospel. We are not exempted.
It has often been said that if you have no enemies, most probably you have not been living and speaking the truth.
Being a Christian is a radical way of life because it calls for a complete turnaround from a life of sin. Many people do not want change. Many people do not want to be in the light because they are used to live in darkness. That is why the world is full of hatred and ignorance. Yet, Christians must persevere in living the gospel. If there is Good Friday, there is also Easter Sunday. If we always remember this fact, then we can be at peace and joyful.
Dear Jesus, we ask for the grace to be courageous in living and speaking the truth no matter how the world treats us. You have experienced the worst persecution of all. Help us to have the strength to endure our own. Amen.