Children of Love

John 15:18-21

Acts 16:1-10 / Ps 100

…because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
(John 15:19)

We may not have the world’s success,

But at least we’re never anxious,

Never hateful, and free from stress,

Because we belong to Jesus.

(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

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 and joy of eternal happiness as our reward for not conforming to the ways of this world. As Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew, 5:11: “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.”

There is no gray area here. We cannot have one and enjoy the other 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). We also read in the first letter of John: “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 John 2:15). St. James echoes 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).

What is the “world” being referred to here? It is everything in this life that appeals to our carnal desires, or those “of the flesh”. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans: “For the concern of the flesh is hostility towards God; it does not submit to the law of God, nor can it; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8). It is only when we have learned to “crucify” our material or carnal concerns and detach ourselves from the pleasures of this world that the Spirit of God can dwell in us.

We implore You, dear God to increase the spirit of Your love in our land, so that hatred & distrust may disappear, and swords finally beaten into plowshares. Grant us the grace to persevere in conforming ourselves to all the values taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, so that Your Spirit may always abide in us. Amen.

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