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Rejection and Persecution

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:10-13,

Ps. 18:1-2a.2bc-3.4-5.6 Gospel: Jn 10: 31-42.

Dear Christians, The first reading today tells us about Jeremiah who suffers persecution from other people including his own friends. And for this reason he prays to God with an expectation that God will take revenge against this wicked people. In today’s gospel, Jesus faces the same situation but with different spirit. In our first reading Jeremiah expects that God may take revenge against the wicked people. Jesus, on the other hand, prays not for revenge but He brings redemption and salvation to those who persecute Him.

He does good deeds to His people. He even humbles Himself more by telling them to at least believe in His works even if they don’t believe in Him. He affords telling them to forget Him and asks them to realize the love His Father has for them. Like for example, He tells them to remember the restoration of sight to the blind; the multiplication of the loaves; the changing of water into wine and so on so that they may be able to see the Father and His love into these works. But what is their response? In response to what Jesus says to them, they do not listen to Him, even try to arrest and want to kill Him because

He makes Himself to be God. This is blasphemy and it is one of the three sins or crimes punishable by death. They get angry with Him due to His statements of His intimate association with God. But they did not know that, everything that Jesus is, stems from the Father. He is not a man who makes Himself God; He is the Word of God who becomes man. It is the Father who consecrates Him. In other words, Jesus experiences what Jeremiah has experienced, the same rejection, betrayal and persecution. But His response to all these is to press on to His crucifixion, death and finally, His resurrection.

In our modern society, we still reject Jesus, perhaps in the following main ways. 1. Rebelling against the Gospel- Stubbornness and self- will, will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are inflexible and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our own rights and insist that this is what we intend to do and it’s against the Gospel, we are persecuting Him.

2. Teaching the Gospel but not living it- I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the very spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of only one thing— a perfect oneness with the Father. All I do should be based on a perfection with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that others may use me, go around me, or completely ignore me, but if I will submit to it for His sake, I will prevent Jesus Christ from being persecuted.

Dear Christians, God is working in our lives every day. We need faith to be able to see and recognize Him. This is possible only if we have an open heart that strives to act in accordance to His will. Let’s pray that we may persevere in the suffering and persecution encountered in our Christian life. Let us also pray that we may not be persecutors and stubborn in the following of the

Gospel. Amen.

Br. Bedan I. Njue, Salesianof Don Bosco


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