In this passage from John’s Gospel (15: 18-21), Jesus says to the disciples, ‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own’.Fr Paul says at this point in his life, Jesus knew that his time was up, that the game was over. He knew that he had been betrayed. He knew that his opponents were coming for him. If we recall from his very birth, Jesus had always been living under a death threat. In fact, in John’s Gospel which we read from, Fr Paul notes that every time Jesus goes to Jerusalem the authorities are out to get him. Christianity has been the same. Since its beginnings the followers of Jesus have lived under threat and this is still the case today. In many countries Christians are hated to the point of death. While we don’t have this type of threat in our own country and in our own society, we can still experience the contempt many have for our faith. For our Gospel reflection today, mindful of our faith and of our history, Fr Paul asks that we listen again to the words of Jesus, ‘If they persecuted me, they will persecute you, too’.
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