In today’s Gospel, Jesus again tells His disciples to expect persecution. And this even unto death. Opposition to the Kingdom of God is fierce. The hostility is often much more than we can fathom. We read about martyrdom in our time. We know we should expect ill-treatment. It comes in ways obvious and subtle. What is unique about the Christian faith, and the call to radical discipleship, is that this state of affairs must not force an inward turn.
Instead, Jesus still calls us to love our enemies. He calls us to bless those who persecute us. There is no chip on our shoulder. The other shoe will drop. But we do not walk in trepidation. Jesus tells us He has overcome the world. If we abide in Him, we abide in the life of God, the giver of all life. If we are grafted into that life, we have a life that cannot be taken from us. We have happiness and fellowship that is not fleeting. The Holy Spirit is our constant companion and often reminds us that we are pilgrims on a journey toward something greater.