More action and adventure today in the first reading from Acts 16. Paul has a vision in which a Macedonian says to him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” So he goes! Perhaps we should pray for the intercession of St. Paul and say, “Come to American and help us!” In the Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus tells the disciples, “Because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”
Hate is such a nasty word. No one wants to be thought of as a hater. And I’m pretty sure that no one wants to be hated. But Jesus made no bones about it. His disciples would be hated. Jesus went on to tell them that they would be persecuted. And we know that the same holds true today. It may seem to us that it is even more prevalent now, especially in the instant information age in which we live.
We see it over and over again. Someone says something that is un-PC. You stand up for the truth, and for values. And the claws and fangs come out. Venom is spewed by bloggers and pundits the world over. Someone stands up for their Christian principles and is lambasted. This is nothing new. And just like the first Christians, we need to take it in stride. After all, are we more concerned with what the world thinks, or what God thinks?
Father, forgive us for those times when we cave in to the world, because we don’t want to be hated. Help us to love, even in the face of hate. Amen.