Acts 16:1-10
John 15:18-21


The readings from John 15:18-21, where Jesus is speaking about the world’s hatred towards His followers, can challenge us in our modern world in several ways:                                    

  1. Personal Sacrifice: Choosing to follow a set of beliefs that are countercultural, as Jesus’ teachings often are, can require personal sacrifices. This might mean facing rejection or alienation from peers or society at large for one’s convictions.
  2. Global Persecution: In some parts of the world, Christians and followers of other religions face persecution similar to what the early disciples experienced. This can range from social discrimination to physical violence.
  3. Social media and Public Opinion: The concept of the “world” hating the disciples can be seen in the context of social media and public opinion.  Sometimes, when someone expresses their beliefs that are contrary to popular opinion may face backlash or ‘hate’ in the form of online harassment or cancel culture.   Although tempting to react rather than respond, sometimes its best to leave the dogs of social media alone and find more creative and transformative ways to share beliefs and opinions… usually through respectful dialogue and relationships.   Asking yourself do I need to put my opinion on social media, is there another way?    I also find using humour serves me well here.
  4. Integrity and Authenticity: The readings challenge us to consider whether we are willing to be countercultural in our beliefs and choices, even when it is difficult. It calls for integrity and authenticity in our actions and decisions.  Passionists are built around authentic relationships and well-thought-out choices.
  5. Understanding and Compassion: The reading also encourages us to respond to opposition with understanding and compassion, recognizing that the world’s rejection is often due to a lack of knowledge or understanding of God’s love.

In essence, the teachings of Jesus in John 15:18-21 continue to resonate in a modern context, reminding individuals to navigate opposition with grace, while staying true to our convictions and values. It’s a call to be prepared to love without conditions, to seek understanding and to be bold in loving others even in a world that may not always understand or accept them.

Jo McDade