“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.”
This is a HUGE moment for our relationship with God in today’s Gospel! Jesus personally anticipated some of the problems that we would face while living his message of truth, and proceeded to give us an example of one who overcame it (himself), the courage to follow through, and the love necessary for us to even want to try. Jesus is vulnerable in today’s Gospel. That’s rough and tough to say to 12 of your closest friends: “guys, the world hates me… and will probably hate you too because of me.”
This is such a big moment in our relationship with God because it gives us the hope, courage, and love to stay IN relationship with God. Despite these words in the Gospel, however, this is still easier said than done. For me, it is a constant battle, a constant choice, to choose God and his message of absolute joy. I know that God brings me happiness. He sends me “God winks”, he makes me smile, and he loves me while knowing who I am better than I even do myself. Why, then, is it so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the world will bring me happiness? This is the temptation that everyone faces in their own way. Sometimes it’s just simply opting to be less than I really am, sometimes it’s watching long hours of TV instead of writing a paper, and sometimes it’s eating copious amounts of delicious cake instead of caring for my body. These are all moments “of the world” where I have to choose whether or not I have the courage and strength to believe and trust in Jesus’s message.
Jesus gives us a lot of hope and help in today’s Gospel. It is a very human exchange. He tells us that we will be hated, that we will not fit in, and that we will be “persecuted”. This is an extremely hard thing, to be hated. However, Jesus tells us that “I have chosen you out of the world.” Jesus handpicked each and every one of us for this journey. He calls us each individually and personally, reminds us that it will be hard, and reinforces how much he loves us. How amazing to be so loved by God!?
You are beautiful and loved.