Saint John de Brito – Readings


Saint John de Brito – Commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1; Ps 123; John 15:18-21 The Gospel from chapter 15 of John contains words spoken by Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper.  He is warning them that they can expect no better treatment than he himself received.  "If the world hates you, realise that it hated me first."  It is the extraordinary and sad paradox that a life of such love and compassion of Jesus for his brothers and sisters should generate should hatred, anger and violence.  And it has been the same for many of his most faithful followers down the ages.  And perhaps Jesus puts his finger on the reason for this irrational behaviour.  "If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you." They are asked to remember what Jesus had told them earlier, "No slave is greater than his master."  If they persecuted him, they will also persecute his followers.  And the reason that people act like this to him and his followers is because "they do not know the one who sent me". St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, would have been proud of the men we are remembering today.  He is once reported to have said that he always wanted the members of the Society to be persecuted; it was a sign they were carrying out the mission of the Gospel and the building of the Kingdom. St Paul, too, in today's First Reading from the Second Letter to the Christians of Corinth, has words of encouragement for all those who try to be faithful to the call of Jesus.  He himself had had more than his fair share of suffering in his work to spread the Gospel.  So he says, "we are not discouraged [by the sufferings and abuse he and his companions experience].  Rather, though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."  For Paul, it is a small price to pay in the cause they live and die for.  "For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison."  For they "look not to what is seen but to what is unseen.  For what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal." And indeed, generations after these men gave their life, their name, their courage and their loyalty are an inspiration to us.  But of those who brought about their deaths we remember hardly anything.

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