“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.”

Yesterday’s short reading gave us the next four verses in John 15 (18-21).  Starting with the words above, Jesus tells His apostles that the world will hate them because they are His chosen ones.  They will be hated and persecuted as the Master was.  We normally do not like at all the idea of being hated, much less persecuted.  In our dealings in a secular world that seems to becoming more and more anti-religious it can take real courage to stand by one’s religious and moral convictions.  But do so we must as we want to be faithful followers of Christ.  Indifference should not be one of our traits (the Lord to the Laodiceans: “because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:16] ).  But being faithful does not mean that we are act in an aggressive, accusatory, or “in your face” way.  Rather, our words should be well-considered and our tone even.  To help us do this, prayer and study are required.  Asking the Spirit to “teach you at that moment what you should say” (Lk 12:12) and beseeching the Lord to “give you a wisdom in speaking” (Lk 21:15) are absolutely necessary.  But we are also to understand the hot button issues of the day, know the Church’s stance on the various matters, and be able to present them firmly, gently, and matter-of-factly.  Then we leave it up to the Lord.  Maybe others will be unmoved immediately, and maybe we will be spurned, ridiculed, or worse, but with the power of conviction the Lord will certainly use us to move hearts and minds.  Stay strong.

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