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The world hated me before it hated you

May 21, Saturday, Fifth Week of Easter
Daily Readings: Acts 16: 1-10, Psalm 100: 1-5, John 15:18-21

Following Jesus is a challenging endeavor. Are we prepared to follow him? This goes beyond giving lip regard to his ideals. If we desire to follow Jesus, we may have to make difficult decisions that push others away.

It takes great courage to decide not to belong in this world. Why? It is because almost everyone wants to belong in this world. Material wealth and power are the most sought-after possessions in this world. Who would not want material wealth and power?

The opening words of the Gospel are somewhat shocking. Once again, Jesus is discussing the world with his disciples. He tells them, "If the world hates you, remember that it first hated me."

In the gospel passage, Jesus is using the word "world" to describe the people who reject him and who will persecute him and his followers.

Jesus also tells the disciples that they do not belong to the "world." And most likely, the "world" will hate them because they do not belong to the world of the Pharisees. Instead, Jesus has chosen them out of the world to follow him and his example.

Following Jesus sounds incredibly sacred. However, following Jesus may be a challenging journey at times. If we decide to follow Jesus completely, we will undoubtedly be rejected or hated.

Jesus was seen as a countercultural in his society as his teachings were seemingly impossible to practice or imitate. Following Jesus is not “easy”, but possible.  

Are we willing to follow Jesus rather than become the "crowd?" Are we prepared to be countercultural in our beliefs and choices for the sake of the Gospel? Are we ready to deal with anger, rejection, or alienation if we choose to do what is truly loving and kind as shown by Jesus? Do we trust Jesus to walk with us, strengthen us, and bless us?

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

 

Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.