Imagine the response of the disciples of Jesus when he told them, as we heard today in the Gospel, that the world may hate them! Perhaps they began wondering about all the teaching on love and forgiveness, and then here arrives a lesson on hatred? Part of the problem then (and even today) was that so many were expecting their own created version of the Messiah who would wield such political and military power that anyone associated with him and would be called “his friend” would somehow be so much like the rich and influential who seemed to mistreat and misjudge those whom they thought lower than themselves. Today Jesus continues to invite us into His friendship as he promotes service as a basis for greatness. He even washed feet and wounds and ate with sinners and outcasts: “Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.'”
William Shakespeare once wrote, “Time is very slow for those who wait. Very fast for those who are scared. Very long for those who lament. Very short for those who celebrate. But for those who love, time is eternal.” Those who rejected Jesus when He first came were steeped in their mistaken ideas about who God promised, how He would save them from their sins, and why He opened the mystery of love for the universe. This still happens today as Jesus comes to us every single day of our lives, which calls upon us to set aside any biases or unrealistic expectations and accept the Lord Jesus just as He says He is for the world: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” Love Jesus today with all your heart, and then allow that unprecedented decision to permeate and affect everything you do and say from now on. Sometimes human nature needs more time to accept what the mind already knows.
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“When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.” William Arthur Ward