The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis, Book III Chapter XLI: “Of the Contempt of all Worldly Honor” (third entry)
Kempis has Christ saying the words of encouragement above to the disciple who is “disheartened [to] see others honored and advanced, and [him]self despised and humiliated.”
|Today’s Gospel reading: Lk 6:6-11
Jesus is confronted with a man with a withered hand as the scribes and Pharisees continue to observe Jesus carefully in the synagogue. Knowing that they sought to trap Him for Sabbath violations, Jesus calls out these religious leaders and then cures the man since it is “lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Infuriated and humiliated, amongst themselves they “discussed together what they might do to Jesus.”
Although Kempis has Jesus direct His words to His disciple to strengthen Him, it seems that Jesus Himself would have often had recourse to his heavenly Father with the same sentiments in His frequent times of prayer. This was especially needed due to the machinations of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, several of whom were on a constant crusade to take down this popular interloper. How it must have grieved Jesus to bear such acrimony from men who claimed to be privileged representatives of His Father.
‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. (Jn 15:20)
So why should we, as fallen and imperfect as we are, to be treated any better than Our Lord and Savior? Would it be that we would handle these situations as He did. God help us.