I am reading the Gospel passage from John 15:26 – 16:4 as if Jesus is speaking directly to me and this is what I am hearing. He has sent me the Holy Spirit to live in me so that I will not fall away when persecution strikes. With all that is going on in the world, it is much easier for me to look at others to see some fulfillment of this passage today. Jesus says, “They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.”
This can seem far away from me as I read about terrorists killing in the name of God. And I can go to my church seven days a week to worship without fearing that someone will stop me or expel me from the Chapel. But as I seek clarity in God’s word, I am being persecuted today in the world I live in by evil that surrounds me. So much of what is right is now considered wrong and vice versa. The attack on religious freedom is a great example of that.
As a Catholic, we believe that abortion, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, same-sex marriage and euthanasia just to name a few are intrinsic evils. For me to even put this in writing on a blog will most likely be read by some who disagree, some who agree and some who will go over the top to think or call me a bigot and who knows what else. So Jesus is speaking to me when he says I will be persecuted for believing in him and his teachings through his church.
What is ironic is that I have family, friends and acquaintances that I love and will always love dearly that disagree with me. But should any of us be told by the world that you better not believe or believe this way or else?
As a Christian, we are called to love the sinner and hate the sin. I get that and I try my best. Love is always the answer. Mercy is always the answer. And no matter where we all stand on issues like these, my hope is always that God will love us into his truth through his mercy to become one body in Christ.