Todays gospel, Jn 15, 18-21:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also 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.”
Last week we were trying to get this idea across to one of our youth groups - that being a Christian doesn't mean a life without pain or suffering. In fact, many Christians suffer more because of their beliefs. Often, it would be a lot easier to just forget Christ's teaching to love our neighbor and to ignore that homeless guy on the street, or not to respect God's creation by throwing that candy wrapper out the window. We introduced the youth to two Christians that most would agree, lived their lives for Christ and suffered greatly because of it: Mother Theresa and Archbishop Oscar Romero. It surprised us when they claimed to have never even heard of either of them! Who's never heard of Mother Theresa?! We hid our shock and reminded ourselves that these kids are 14 years old, that she died in 1997 when they were babies and that all of them are self-claimed haters of reading. Ask them about Daddy Yankee and we're sure that they could teach us a few things.... but back to the point.
After watching a short video on Romero, one youth stood in silence, mouth gaping... "Uncle David, what happened? They didn't kill him, did they?!". This led to the inevitable and necessary question, why?, which gave way to a great discussion on what it means to be a Christian today. We're pretty sure they understood the message. Now today, that same message is for us. We are forced to make a choice daily:
Do I belong to the world?
Or, do I belong to Christ?