A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 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."
Back in the old days, general Physical Education in school was spent playing games, such as kickball, basketball, football and baseball. The P.E. instructor always called the two most athletic girls to be the captains and during baseball season allowed them to pick their teams. I was never athletic and usually did not enjoy the team picking strategy, where I was picked toward the end of the choices. Without fail, the most unathletic girl, who had physical limited ability, was always picked last. One day no one wanted to pick her. I wanted to cry with her.
“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.” How many times do you feel you do not belong in this world? When you speak up for the truth, then someone will unduly reprimand or twist your words. If you stand up for what is right by your actions, people will make fun of you. If you try to tell another they are making a poor choice, they ignore you or get mad at you. Is it merciful to remain silent or is it merciful to gently re-educate?
If life were a baseball game and Jesus was the Team Captain, I am sure He would pick first the smallest and weakest, like this girl in my class, to be on his team. He would never start walking off the outfield when that little girl comes up to bat with two outs. He would carry her if need be and give her the support she needs to stay in the game. Remember, He has chosen us out of this world. Our life in this world is not a game, we are called to follow our Master. How will we stand before the Judge? Will Jesus see the scourges on our backs, the crown of thorns on our head, or the piercings on our body? Take heart, because Jesus was first.
Let us pray for priests to have the courage and obedience to follow our Master, despite the world hating us.