John 15:18-21 Love and Hate
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to his disciples: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to this world, the world would love its own…Remember the word I spoke to you…If they persecuted me, they will 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.”
Wow! This week’s Gospels are speaking to us loud and clear. You would think the Lord is speaking directly to us. He is. You would think the Lord is speaking about today’s issues. He is. You would think the Lord is warning us of what’s to come. He is.
If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. Christ knew what he was saying. There’s no use sugar coating vinegar. He laid it all out for his disciples to follow or to leave. Ladies and gentlemen, here are the facts. They will beat you and torture you and scourge you all because of me. You will be hunted down and executed. You will be called bigots, homophobes, radicals, extremists all because of me. No slave is greater than his master. If they ruined my reputation, they will ruin yours. If they killed me, they will kill you.
Why so much hatred by non-Christians? Can they love their enemies? Why so much persecution of Christians? Is there any point in all of it? Hasn’t atheism and secularism won the day? Not yet. In fact, not at all. Yes, atheism and secularism have grown in the United States and elsewhere, but so have infidelity, dysfunctional families, gangs, failing scores, eating disorders, population busts, abortion, sexting, drug use, pornography, suicide and general malaise. You could say that secularism collapses under its own weight. You may even say it collapses under its own success. Sure, you can say secularism holds its own ground, but the ground falls from underneath it. You can say that it attracts; as fatal attractions go. But the truth of the matter is this: secularism does not have a chance of succeeding because secularism does not inspire. It knows how to complain, but it doesn’t know how to create. We complain all the time about the world. But we don't know how to create one.
For example the once-upon-a-time Occupy Wall Street movement attracted the young, just like the once-upon-a-time hippy movement of old. And just like the hippy movement of old - that never really learned how to love – Occupy Wall Street movement quickly disintegrated to crime and filth. Secularism seeks to be an alternative to religion but it just can’t seem to muster anything that compares to the universality of the Church or the teachings of Jesus Christ. And, if you want to become the center of the Universe, then you better do more than just complain. You have to be able to create something too.
Hatred is full of complaints. God is full of love; and love always creates, even in death.
Check out this sobering truth. Secularists have enormous backing and visibility; whereas Christians are attacked or ignored at every conceivable angle. I am not exaggerating when I say there is little to no God inside the matrix (TV, computer, work, school, etc.). Think about this: the Media has billions of dollars and has complete access to the hearts and minds of millions and millions of people. And there is little to no God in the Media. Hollywood has their grip on the hearts and minds of millions and millions of people; and there is little to no God in Hollywood. Public Schools have complete access to millions and millions of kids; and there is no God there. The Federal Government does nothing to encourage religion, and has a lot of our money. As you can see, secularists have billions and billions of dollars to spend every year to push out, ignore, or attack God from our midst. And all God has are his little, itty-bitty tiny temples and private schools across the nation.
And yet, Goliath has been unable to push God out! GOD WON’T LEAVE! HE WON’T BUDGE! HE WON’T DIE! What is secularism to do???
Hate and persecute. Hate and persecute. Hate and persecute.
It’s human nature. Actually, it’s fallen human nature; that is, when you put so much time and money and effort into something, and you get very little out of it, of course you’re going to be upset, infuriated, mean-spirited and even deadly. But I’m here to tell you that their vulgarities, profanities, suicide bombers, lies and deceptions are a symptom of death knocking at their door.
So, what shall we do? We shall overcome. Love with a fight. Little by little. Step by Step. Baby step by baby step. Our eyes have seen the glory of the Lord. “Do not be afraid. I conquered the world.”
Rome was not built in a day, but it was destroyed in just a few. Secularism will always appear to be making ground quickly, but again, it’s quick sand; whereas Christianity will always take its time, because it is always harder to create a culture of life than it is to dig a culture of death. And Christianity is not about time, it’s about one life at a time.
I read today that twenty-one Anglican priests will be ordained this year for the English Ordinariate. That brings the total number to eighty. Eighty Catholic priests! A few years ago the Bishops in England were wondering how to solve their priestly shortage. It would appear as though the Lord knew the solution. Please pray for them and support them. They are being battered on both sides of the Tiber: from Anglicans to liberal minded Catholics.
I also read that the SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X), a schismatic group that disavowed themselves from Vatican II, may soon be reconciled with Rome. Its leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, appears to be ready to come back to the fold. If the SSPX does in fact do so, it will be a major victory for Christ and His Bride. Please pray for the Holy Father and for Bishop Bernard. They will be battered on both sides of the Tiber: from members within the Society and from liberal minded Catholics on the other. As of January, 2010, the Society had over five hundred priests and over two hundred seminarians with nearly two hundred nuns. This reconciliation is very close to the Holy Father’s heart and he needs our prayers.
If the Lord said his disciples would be hated because of him. Then he also implied they would be loved because of him. Let the prayer warriors out of their cage.