Do not be amazed if the world hates you
Do not be amazed, then, brothers, if the world hates you. (1 John 3:13)
Throughout our life people will arise who seem determined to harm or dissuade us from believing in Jesus. We are now in an era of intense persecution of our Christian faith, and some days it may seem that we are hit from all angles with challenges to our gospel message.
While with us, Jesus was fully aware of His sufferings to come. Yet His focus was on preparing His disciples for the horror and scandal of His passion so they could fully participate in the joy of His resurrection. He did this for us too so that we may fully experience that joy as an Easter people despite our sufferings.
To endure persecutions and trials we must remain in His love, and this is why Lent is an important season. Too often we let our self love pull us away from Him; we have this season to correct that. Denying ourselves base pleasures for love of Him, we can embrace friends and enemies alike with compassion.
If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 3:12-13)
We endure our own trials in life but need not suffer these alone. He teaches that His Father dwells in Him and He in the Father. If we live in His Word, He and the Father will come to dwell in us. Thanks to our baptism, His Spirit already resides within our heart. It is in these troubling times that we can call upon His Spirit to be our advocate. Those around us who mock and ridicule us are not of the Spirit so they cannot see that we are being sanctified by their very mockery. Their words are our stripes which we align with those of Jesus. By His stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).
Laetare Sunday is our day to recollect in all of this. Jesus chose to suffer and die for us so that one day we will be resurrected in Him and live eternally in praise of our Father. By His grace, we experience moments of that now; a foretaste of Heaven to help us persevere.
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. (John 17:9-10)
We are the treasure which our Father has given to Jesus. When we keep His Word and live in accord with His precepts, we remain in communion with our Triune God and with one another. Acts of virtue and praise glorify our God and bring His light to the world.
We should seem different from the world because we are. Joy comes from embracing that. 😊
I have understood that at certain and most difficult moments I shall be alone, deserted by everyone, and that I must face all the storms and fight with all the strength of my soul, even with those from whom I expected to get help. But I am not alone, because Jesus is with me, and with Him I fear nothing.
(Diary of Saint Faustina, 746)
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam 😊
(Image from Pixabay)
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