A Spirit That Perseveres
“You’d better look good on wood”
These were the words a friend of mine once told me that the Coordinator of the PSR Program at her Church relayed to her after she decided to serve as a Religious Education Instructor to the 9th Grade Students at her Parish. On a related note, I taught “CCD” to 9th Graders for 4 years; this woman is going straight to heaven, of that I have no doubt.
Today’s Gospel (John 15:18-21) reinforces this very fact. Jesus puts it bluntly when he says:
"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.”
Jesus goes on to say “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."
As you may recall from yesterday’s Gospel, it was Jesus who chose us. As His people, we will be metaphorically nailed to the cross from time to time in our social circles, workplaces and elsewhere.
In his letters, St. Paul oftentimes said “I am not of this world.” This is one of my very favorite Biblical premises and it speaks to all of us, for none of us are of this world. Through Baptism, we move from the flimsy and fleeting secular kingdom into God’s Kingdom. No longer does Satan have authority over us. Finally, we are in control of our eternal destiny by way of the waters of the Baptismal font, washed clean of the scourge of vice and despair. Sealed as a child of God the Father. We are, in fact, freed.
But the battle for souls will continue. And it will be fierce at times. We must dig our heels into the dirt and stand our ground as public opinion undeniably continues to move against the child of God in matters pertaining to abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism and euthanasia.
When I was young, I was obsessed with this idea of being “liked.” Other peoples’ opinions of me were of paramount importance, so much so that I virtually always prescribed to the idea that one must “go along to get along.” It was only through the works of the Holy Spirit and the subsequent wisdom that came with it that I ultimately grew to understand that in life, you’ve gotta take sides and in reality, another person’s opinion of me is simply none of my business ianyway.
A little something to think about, especially for some of you younger readers. I do understand the role that peer pressure plays in your lives.
Saint John of the Cross once said ”though the path is plain and smooth for men of good will, he who walks it will not travel far, and will do so only with difficulty, if he does not have good feet: that is, courage and a persevering spirit.”
For as Saint John Bosco said ~ and proved by way of his life and devotion to the faith ~ “when one is convinced that his cause is just, he will fear nothing.”