Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reflection: John 15:18-21

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter — John 15:18-21

This Gospel’s opening words are a bit startling. Jesus once again is talking with his disciples about the world. He tells them: “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me first.” In this passage, Jesus is using the word “world” to describe the people who reject Him and who will persecute Jesus and his followers.

Jesus also tells the disciples that they do not belong to the world. Most likely, the world will hate them because they do not belong to the world of the Pharisees. Rather, Jesus has chosen them out of the world to follow him and his example. The path of following Jesus is a difficult one. Are we truly ready to truly follow him? This is more than simply giving lip service to his teachings. If we consciously choose to follow Jesus, we may have to make difficult choices and in that process, we may alienate some of the people in our lives.

Following Jesus sounds very romantic and holy. However, following Jesus may be a difficult journey at times. If we choose to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, most likely we also will experience rejection or perhaps even hatred. Jesus clearly was countercultural in his society. Are we willing to follow Jesus rather than the crowd? Are we prepared to be countercultural in our beliefs and choices? Are we willing to deal with anger, rejection, or alienation if we make choices to do what is truly loving and kind? Do we trust Jesus to walk with us, strengthen and grace us?

The world is not an easy place to live. Each day we have the opportunity to make a variety of choices. Today will we choose to follow the crowd and simply do what is expected of us? Or will we choose to follow Jesus and act as Jesus would? Only we can choose. What will we do?

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