The World’s Hatred

John 15: 18-21
Acts 16: 1-10 / Ps 100: 1b-2. 3. 5

I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
(John 15:19)

How can the choice be hard to make,
Between life or death, wealth or grace?
Let us not make the grave mistake
To love this world and lose the race.

(Jesus said), “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first. If you were of 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, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, `No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. And they will do all this to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.” (John 15: 18-21)

Reflection

These words of Jesus come to console us whenever we feel depressed on account of not being able to have our way in this world. Sometimes, we are puzzled why people whom we consider amoral, if not downright immoral are the ones who seem to be getting the best breaks in this world, while those whom we know are good and upright people are the ones who are constantly struggling, suffering, or losing. The words of our Lord shatter our worldly standard—“No slave is greater than his master.” If our Lord Jesus could allow Himself to suffer so much insults and persecution in the hands of His tormentors for our sake, shouldn’t we, His servants be glad that even in a small way, we have been privileged to follow His example?

Only those who belong to the world are loved by the world, and enjoy the world’s pleasures and successes. We who do not belong to the world but belong to God may be undergoing some suffering now (be it physical or financial), but this is only for a little time. We have the hope of eternal happiness as our reward for not conforming to the ways of this world. As Jesus assured us, “Fortunate are you when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you because you are my followers. Be glad and rejoice, for a great reward awaits you in my Father’s kingdom” (Mt. 5:11).

In the first letter of John, we read: “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15). St. James echoed the same message: “Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Clearly, there is no gray area here. We cannot be a follower of Jesus Christ and enjoy the things of the world as well. As Jesus so clearly pointed out, “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt.6:24).

St. Paul warns us: “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). The world is Satan’s domain (his playground, really). At every opportunity he lures us into the false belief that our worldly concerns take precedence over everything in our life. Even above our moral standards and spiritual goal. “But do not be led astray,” St. Paul says, “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1Cor. 15:33). Instead, let the Word of God guide us always in the proper conduct of our lives, and the Holy Spirit will shield us from the evils of this world.

Loving Father, we thank You for the guidance and inspiration that we find in Your Word, the Bible. Grant us the grace to persevere in conforming ourselves to all the values taught by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel, so that Your Spirit may always abide in us. Amen.

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