Do you have haters in your life? Friday, 4th Week of Lent Wisdom 2:1,12-22/John 7:1-2,10,25-30

The Bible teaches us the way to heaven but also reflects the reality of those living on this earth. Take for example the desire of many to be loved and to win the approval of all around them. This is humanly impossible and unrealistic. This is because people perceive reality differently. After all, our socio-cultural and religious backgrounds are so divergent.

The Holy Father. Pope Francis completed eleven years of his pontificate two days ago. Catholics on the internet were abuzz. Some even denied him to be our Pope suggesting he was the agent of Satan and others who hailed his pontificate as reflecting the very mercy of God. If this could happen to our Holy Father (whom I also don’t seem to always agree with) then why should lesser mortals like you and me not experience similar negativity from people around us?

In chapter seven of the Gospel of John, Our Lord Jesus Christ has come to Jerusalem for the third time. The Festival of Booths or Tabernacle is one of the three major festivals that drew Jews to Jerusalem. Jesus is teaching in the temple. The crowd (indicative of many) think that he ‘has a demon’ in him (7:20). Jesus confronted them because they claim to keep the law of Moses yet that very law said you shall not kill, and they desired to put Jesus to death. (7:19) Yet not even the temple police were able to arrest Jesus.

Scripture now tells us that it was the last day of the festival and Jesus proclaims himself to be the source of living water for all who thirst. At once we are told that there is a division among the people. While some think he is a prophet, others think he is the Messiah then doubt sets in questioning his lineage, and the place he comes from.

I want to make three reflections here.

  1. Christ himself, the Son of God was called the devil. I think Pope Francis needs to take comfort when Catholics who are unchristian in the way they speak their mind attack him. The Church does not belong to you and me the Church belongs to God and his Holy Spirit will guide the Church. No one says we cannot express our thoughts even when we disagree with the Holy Father, but it is how we do it that brings scandal to the Church.
  2. The second reflection is also based on the Gospel. It is clear that Christ had his share of disciples, followers and admirers but he also had his share of haters who as we know managed to crucify him. We will not always have people who love us no matter what we do. Christ did not go into mourning because he was criticized; he went about his father’s business.
  3. A large majority of the people in your life love you but sadly they don’t tell you they love you or appreciate you. Ironically, ten percent don’t like you and some of them positively hate you and they make sure you know they hate you. We tend to focus on the ten per cent who constantly attack us (I am not saying we should not be open to criticism) and we forget the large majority of people who love us but never voice their appreciation. Here is what we learn from Christ, move on and focus on those who love you. The haters have a constant agenda of hate and no matter what you do they won’t change.

Christ was innocent (reflected in our first reading) and yet they attacked the sinless son of God… we are just mortals.


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