May 4, 2013

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter

The Gospel Today

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Jake J. Rovillos)

“If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you”. These were the very words uttered by Christ to his disciples. Christ wants to tell us that following Him is not that easy. He even tells us that if we want to follow Him, we must take up our cross. Maybe some would asked, why not Jesus carry it for us. Why did Jesus allowed us to be persecuted?

Even in the early history of our Church, many faithful were persecuted because they followed Christ. We have so many saints and martyrs who lived exemplary life of following Christ. They were not just persecuted but they were even put into death heartlessly. Some missionaries in a foreign land are suffering from this predicament.

Our own Catholic Church is bombarded by many criticisms. But Christ in the first part of our Gospel gives us an assurance. He tells us that if the world will hate us, they hated Him first. It is clear that God gives his own embodiment to us. It is indeed a dignifying experience to embrace a personal communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our communion with God is also being persecuted by many worldly possessions. Probably we are not condemned to death literally but figuratively we are being nailed by our possessions that hinder us to follow Christ. Personally, what hampers me in doing well to other people? What hinders me to be like Christ to other people, who heal the sick; an instrument of salvation to other people, or a leader who will lead others to God? Sometimes we caused other people to turn away from God. We figuratively persecute them; violating their rights.

How do we treat our brothers and sisters who are sick, disabled, aging and those who are neglected? Instead of being persecuted for the sake of Christ, we are the one persecuting other people. Our Gospel for today is challenging us to re-examine ourselves of who we are. Are we one of the pagans who persecuted Christ and his disciples or are we one of the disciples of Christ who carried his own cross and made his way in following Christ?

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