It's always a good idea to read the Gospel passage before listening to or reading the reflection. 

CLICK HERE to read today's Gospel passage

CLICK HERE to listen to this reflection on the 5 Minute Gospel Podcast

Jesus says to us today: 
‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you … but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you.’  

These words of Jesus might cause us to ask ourselves, ‘Does the world hate us?’   

Perhaps we might feel that this is a bit exaggerated since we don’t really feel as though we are being persecuted or hated.  We know there are people in different parts of the world who are being persecuted because of their Christian faith. But we might not feel hated or persecuted ourselves. 

Whilst the persecution of Christians in some places is public and even physical, there is a less obvious, much more subtle form of persecution which is just as real and perhaps even more dangerous. 

Every day, every hour, we are pounded with values. These values come to us in subtle and unsubtle ways through advertising, the media, the internet, in movies and on TV. In all these ways, contemporary values infiltrate our homes, our lives and the lives of every member of our families. 

Never before in history have contemporary values entered the lives of people so strongly and so constantly. 

Now, many contemporary values are good and positive. We see movements for peace, movements against racism and discrimination, movements calling for greater respect for women, movements against child abuse, movements promoting care for the disabled and the elderly. 

At the same time, however, many contemporary values entering our homes and families every day are negative and run counter to the values of Jesus. 

Jesus says blessed are the poor; the world says get rich. Jesus says blessed are the humble and gentle; the world says be proud, be at the top, be first no matter what. Jesus says blessed are those who mourn; the world says be happy at all costs, life is short so enjoy it while you can. Jesus says blessed are the peacemakers; the world says get revenge. Jesus says love; the world says abort and euthanise.

In short: Jesus says 'give'; the world says 'get'. 

If we are not careful, slowly but surely, this daily pounding of values can turn us into ‘getters’ and not ‘givers’ and cause us to focus our lives on an endless search for more. 

This is persecution, subtle yes, but persecution, nonetheless. It is even more dangerous than physical persecution because it is so subtle. It can be influence how we see what is important in life without us even noticing. 

Jesus says in today’s Gospel: 

‘ … you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world.” 

The challenge for us is to make sure we do not allow ourselves to be ‘owned’ by the world; to make sure we realise we ‘do not belong to the world’. 

Given the daily onslaught of values that are not those of Jesus, it takes courage to stand back and take a hard and honest look at our lives. It takes courage to belong to Jesus and not to the world. 

Jesus says to us: 

‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you … A servant is not greater than their master.’ 

Jesus himself had many setbacks and pressures during his earthly life. These culminated in the Cross and in his Resurrection. His strength was his relationship with the Father.   

Our strength is our relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist, in the sacraments, in daily prayer and reading the Gospel.
Jesus has chosen us; we do not belong to the world; we belong to him.