HOMILY FOR SATURDAY OF 5TH WEEK OF EASTER.
THEME: Jesus said to his disciples: ‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you.
BY: FR. GERALD M. MUSA.
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
*FROM OUR FIRST READING*
The first reading today, gives us a very positive picture of Paul’s ministry in what is now Turkey. ,It tells us that ‘the churches grew in faith, as well as growing daily in numbers’. They were growing in both quality and numbers. Paul reaches Troas which is on the north-west coast of modern day Turkey, and there he has a dream in which he hears the people of Macedonia, in Northern Greece, call out to him to preach the gospel among them. Paul immediately makes plans to cross from what we would call today Asia, Turkey, to Europe, Greece. This is the moment when the gospel reaches Europe for the first time, probably less than twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
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*FROM OUR GOSPEL READING*
Jesus in today’s gospel warns us when He said: “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first…. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you”. What does Jesus mean when he says “the world?” The “world” in Scripture refers to that society of people who are hostile towards God and opposed to His will. When Jesus talks of persecutions also, He was referring to the sufferings and persecutions His disciples would undergo at the hands of the Jews and the Romans in proclaiming His teachings. The “world” that rejects Jesus and His disciples can expect the same treatment. Jesus leaves no middle ground for his followers. We are either for Him or against Him, for His kingdom of light or for the kingdom of darkness.
Our liturgical readings today, gives us a sense of the Holy Spirit at work guiding Paul and his companions, charting their course. It is a very encouraging picture. However, in the gospel reading Jesus paints a somewhat bleaker picture. He tells his disciples that just as the world, the world of unbelief, has hated him, so it will hate them. A servant is not greater than his master. As they persecuted the master, Jesus, they will persecute the servants, his disciples. If Luke in the first reading depicts the work of the Spirit, the gospel reading depicts hostility to that work. Both these realities will always be a feature of the church’s life and mission. What matters is that in the face of the hostility to the gospel message, we never lose sight of the Spirit at work within us and among us.
The Lord be with You!
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