Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
May 16, 2020
Today, in Mercy, Jesus talks about “the world”.
That word can cause a little confusion, both as we find it in scripture and in the history of Christian thought.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says five connotations for “world” may be found in scripture:
- The physical world – the actual plant Earth
- The human world – the land and seas we can navigate
- The moral world – the universe of good and evil
- The temporal world – the world that will someday end
- The coming world – eternal existence
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about the moral world which, in the New Testament, refers to those people who are indifferent and hostile to Christ’s teaching.
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…
the world hates you.
We understand this use of the word. We see the evil in the world. We are saddened, angered and confounded by it when we recognize it.
But do we always recognize it?
Blatant evils like murder are readily recognized. But the most insidious evils are those that masquerade as good.
These masquerading evils often pretend to protect our rights, our security, our safety. But they usually do so at the expense of someone else’s rights – the poor, the refugee, the aged, the homeless, people of color……and all who have become “disposable” in our society.
These deceptions hide behind brave and noble words like “America First”, “Second Amendment Rights”, “Protect Life” and a rash of other slogans which fail to examine the whole impact of single-issue politics.
It’s confusing because we love America, right? We believe in people’s constitutional rights, right? We respect life, right?
What if our slogans instead more clearly reflected Gospel values:
- The Human Family First
- Safety Rights for Everyone
- Health Security for All Life – Womb to Tomb
How can we be spiritually discerning about what is good within such realities and what is rooted in sinful self-interest? Jesus tells us in these words:
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
We must look to the one who is hated and persecuted to find the Face of Christ. We must love that Face and learn its heartaches. We must become a companion in their search for wholeness. We must set aside any costume of self-righteousness and put on the garment of Mercy:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Music: The Mercy Song – Paul Alexander