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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hated for the sake of the Gospel

"Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man." Lk 6:22

Hate is a strong word which most of avoid. It never seems like a word or an emotion that builds life within or among us. All of us have read of people who so hated themselves because of some serious fault that they took their own lives, and while we know this makes no sense, we understand it. More important, we hear of families and nations who hate one another, and avoid contact with those they hate at all costs. Even thinking about the hated one brings deep distress.

Nevertheless, Jesus suggests that the world will, even should hate us to the point of killing us, if we live the Good News authentically. People who live for others, who oppose societies in which some are isolated because of culture, the color of their skin or their lack of education and wealth, who insist that all people are worthy of love, are hated because they are always working for justice.

Jesus was hated by the leaders of his own society because he challenged their interpretations of the law and their haughtiness towards the poor. Imagine what it was like for the leaders when he looked at them and insisted: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!"  Enraged and threatened, the Pharisees plotted to kill him because he told the truth. The gospel is intended "to bring glad tidings to the poor... to proclaim liberty to captives...and to let the oppressed go free," (Lk 4:18) not to "lay heavy burdens" on their shoulders while doing nothing to help them. (Mt. 23:4)

Today,  ask yourself whether you are laying "heavy burdens" on others without being willing to help.

Who has been an inspiration to you because of their efforts on behalf of the poor?


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