In the early stage, the Johannine community of believers saw the world as a good place, but in need of reform. God loved the world and sent his only Son to save it. But in the later stage, the community began to experience rejection and even persecution from the Jewish religious leaders. They referred to those who did not accept Jesus as “Jews” in contradistinction to them, even if many of them were themselves Jewish in origin. This bitter experience caused the development of negative attitudes towards the “world” made up of people who were hostile to the community or were unbelievers. The community used “the world” to distinguish themselves from these people, as in the case of “us versus them” mentality.
After the period of the persecution of Christians, some would see holiness in terms of fuga mundi, a flight or retreat from the world, looked upon as evil. In our time, the world is seen as the “arena” where the Gospel of Jesus is at work, saving human beings.
How do I relate to the “world” in my spiritual life, in my relationship with God and neighbor?
Gospel • JOHN 15:18-21
Jesus said to His disciples: “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, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they do not know the one who sent Me.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.