Readings for Today
Have you ever heard the expression, with friends like that who needs enemies? Maybe you’ve even had a time where someone who was a friend of yours, challenged you with something that was very difficult to hear. Today’s gospel is a little bit like that. There is no greater gift received from the Lord Jesus than the gift of his Word and his presence. But sometimes believing the Word and acknowledging his presence, trying to be attentive to his will and the work that he calls us to do, can lead to very negative consequences at least in this world.
“I gave them your word, and the world hated them.” It can be hard to imagine sometimes in our lives, with the God who loves us more than we can believe, being faithful to this God could have such tremendous consequences that someone could be hated for believing and knowing the Word. And yet today we see this all around us. Think of the Christians today in the Middle East, who are being persecuted simply for being Christian. It seems this is exactly what Jesus means when he says the world will hate us if we believe and proclaim the word of God.
And yet such is what happens, isn’t it? The Middle East is the most dramatic example. Not only are Christians being killed an unprecedented numbers, perhaps higher than in all of Christian history, but much of the world seems silent about their plight. We do not hear much about from the leaders of the world, even our own president, saying much about the tremendous suffering and death of those being killed for their faith. And so, it is not simply that they are being hated for the word that they believe in, but their martyrdom is being committed and the response is silence.
And even in less dramatic circumstances, even in our own lives, we can be afraid to share what we really believe, because of the consequences of those who might hear what it is we have to say. It is not an easy time to be a person of faith. In some ways, this is a good thing. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not suggesting that we should go seeking martyrdom, but what I am suggesting is that when our faith leads to our being persecuted, often it is in those instances, and especially those instances, where our faith become strong.
“Your word is truth.” We are sent into the world, to imitate the person of Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice which led to our salvation. By giving up his life on the cross, he who was completely innocent, we, though sinful, have the hope of salvation, when we can open our hearts our lives our souls to this loving presence of God.
And so today, if you experience difficulty, or sadness, or hateful remarks, remember this: Jesus sends us into this world. And we imitate Jesus, by being consecrated to the truth just as he was. We too will have a share in the life-giving outpouring of his love, which we can share with those who most desperately need to hear it.