Jesus tells us what we can expect from the world; hatred. It will hate us for the same reason it hates him, because anyone who proclaims and believes that God is to be adored and obeyed. The world cannot bear to bow down to a God. If it did it would not let innocent people die of starvation, abort unborn children and let people die in senseless wars. And because Jesus highlighted all these issues to the leaders of the Jews they hated him. They also persecuted him as they persecute anyone who stands up for truth and Christain principles today. This is to be our lot....hatred and persecution for proclaiming the Word. More people died for the Catholic faith in the 20th century than in all previous centuries put together. Things never change.....and Jesus' words are always true! Still we believe, still we try to old faith...we may fail often but we keep trying!
We are all deeply connected with the “land” — our “land” (for want of a better word). It is one reason why the typical religion of man is a local one, or rather, one that is both co-extensive with his particular culture and a product of it. If the culture extends to other societies and regions, so does the religion. It is unusual for there to be a religion that is essentially catholic or universal, and which is meant for any and every culture. Usually, a religion is local or national, and identifies with a particular culture or civilization. His religion is, I think, part of his profound connection with his own “world” and his awareness of the sacredness of his world. Man is a part of this world, and he feels it to be so. But Revelation introduces new considerations, and I have referred to Aboriginal religion in order to highlight one notable feature of the religion of Jesus Christ. To begin with, as the Book of Genesis points out (1:27), man was made in the image of God. So he cannot simply identify with the world. The world is not simply and utterly his home, because to a real point, he himself is different in kind. In an important sense, too, the disciple of Jesus Christ is not at all at home in the world. The Christian religion has not arisen from the world as from its home and origin, but has come to it as a transforming Visitor. In the very prologue of his Gospel, St John introduces the tolling of a special bell. It is the toll of the world’s unfriendliness towards its divine Visitor, Jesus Christ. The Light which enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. This enmity towards the Word made flesh is a great theme of the story of the world’s salvation. In revealed religion, the Creator intervenes to fix the world up. He enters the scene, and the world does not like it. It senses that it is going to have to change. There is a sense in which God become man did not find his home in the world, though he loved it so much. Now this is precisely what our Lord Jesus Christ warns his disciples about in our Gospel today. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-21). A distinctive feature of the thoroughgoing Christian is that he is in the world but not of it.
Jesus Christ was in the world, but was not of the world. He came to save it, and he saved it by being crucified. His bore the anger of the world and by so doing, atoned for the world’s sin. We are called not to find our ultimate home in the world, but in God, God made man. A distinctive feature of the man of revealed religion, the one who follows Jesus Christ closely, is that he will not belong to the world — and in this he differs from what we might call the man of natural religion. Our true homeland is in heaven, and this world is our passageway. It too will pass away, and be transformed into something new and everlasting. This will be the final gift of the Creator. Let us take our stand with Jesus Christ, and live in union with him as he labours through us to transform the whole world for God both now and forever.