The Struggle Continues

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to 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,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”
(John 15:18-21)

Scripture Study

15:18–19. 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 (cf. Jn 3:19–20). 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 the truth” (In Ezechielem homiliae, 9).

15:20 The word I spoke to you: a reference to Jn 13:16.

15:21 On account of my name: the idea of persecution for Jesus’ name is frequent in the New Testament (Mt 10:22; 24:9; Acts 9:14). For John, association with Jesus’ name implies union with Jesus.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel balances our Easter joy with the warning of danger from a society opposed to God: “If you belonged to 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, the world hates you.”

It is altogether appropriate that, during this Easter season, we rejoice. The Lord is risen; he is truly risen. Jesus Christ is Lord. God is King. Sin and death have been defeated. All of that is true and remains centrally important during this season.

At the same time, we must not succumb to a “cheap grace” interpretation of Christianity, whereby Christ is risen and all is well. As Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well, all manner of things will be well.” Notice the future tense. The definitive battle has been won, but the war continues. The struggle is ongoing.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

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