Does the world love us? or do we find resistance and maybe even rejection from those around us?

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.” Jesus states that there can be no compromise between Him and the world, the kingdom of sin: anyone who lives in sin abhors the light. This is why Christ is persecuted, and why the Apostles will be in their turn. “The hostility of the perverse sounds like praise for our life”, St. Gregory says, “because it shows that we have at least some rectitude if we are an annoyance to those who do not love God; no one can be pleasing to God and to God’s enemies at the same time. He who seeks to please those who oppose God is no friend of God; and he who submits himself to the truth will fight against those who strive against truth”

Does the world love us? Or do we go against the current, refuse to accept the world’s values, and find resistance and maybe even rejection from those around us? Yet we must know that the devil is behind all this, and hence we must not get angry at those who are giving us trouble. Simply because they don’t know what they are doing and they also don’t know that they are being used by the devil. Hence we should get “angry” with the devil and not with those people.

Suffering persecution is part of the Christian life. If we have never experienced ridicule, criticism, or rejection, because of our walk with God, we have never had reason to examine the genuineness of our walk. Many television “preachers‟ would love to sell us on how to be happy and avoid trouble. But, it’s simple really: we just have to live like the world and mimic the world’s standards. To go along with the world, to laugh at its jokes when it mocks God and takes His name in vain, or to be ashamed of our life as Christians, does not bring persecution. Faithfulness, on the other hand, always has a cost. To be persecuted for our beliefs verifies that we belong to the family of Christ!

The Christian response to persecution should not be to run and hide. We should be glad. In the early days of the church, the price paid for following Christ was often the ultimate price. To choose Christ often meant death by stoning or being wrapped in animal skins and fed by the lions. Today, to be persecuted for the sake of the Gospel is to stand in the ranks of the prophets. In such a case the world would not love us because it would understand neither what we are doing nor how we are doing it. The world asks us to not make waves, to not go against what everyone else thinks and believes and does; the world demands that we conform, and if we do not we are scorned and rejected. The world having no more grasp on us than it did on Jesus, we would then find Jesus speaking directly and affectionately to our hearts in this Gospel passage.

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