It is very easy to identify ourselves as part of Jesus Christ when He speaks of the love and support we receive that branches that abide in Him. What about in moments of persecution, pain, and sorrow? Jesus assures us that we are very much connected to Him at such moments. He goes ahead of us in receiving persecution and suffering. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
Jesus explains that the new pattern of life for those who believe in Him puts them at odds with the world and will attract persecution from the world. “But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” To live in the world, but not live by the principles and standards of the world is a sign that one is a true believer. Anyone who claims to be a believer but is soaked in every way of life of the world is a hypocrite. Opposition from the world should be expected since the principles of Christ challenge worldly standards.
The world sets traps and tries to blackmail believers so that out of fear and shame they may withdraw and shy away from the virtues and righteousness that Jesus taught us. But fear cannot rule us though persecution rages, for we are part of the suffering Christ, who passed through the road of persecution and won victory for us. “A servant is no greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you…” Jesus gives us hope in the face of persecution that whatever hate we endure in His name will be on His account! This is very important for us to hear at this time when the more is becoming more and more aggressive against the voice of truth.
Therefore, let us hold fast to Christ Jesus and abide in His love. For He is present in our moments of joy, success, peace, and love, and he is also with us in our moments of persecution, suffering, pain, and sorrow. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Amen.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Saturday May 8th, 2021.