5th Week of Easter, Saturday
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.”
From the moment of Christ’s birth, he was already in danger of death as news of an infant king reached the ears of King Herod. St. John the Baptist, by association with him, was killed as his forerunner. During Christ’s public ministry, the religious authorities looked for every opportunity to trip him up and arrest him. Why?
Jesus was a threat to the establishment. He preached a kingdom “not of this world,” forgave sinners, healed on the Sabbath, fed the multitudes, and rebuked hypocrites. His greatest crime was blasphemy: his claim to be the Christ, the Son of God. By calling God his “Father,” he, a mere man, was claiming equality with God.
A strange crime, even in the mind of Pontius Pilate who sought to placate the mob. In the end, out of weakness he had Jesus crucified with a sign that read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”
Jesus is rejected “because they do not know the one who sent me.” From the Cross, Jesus asked pardon for the ignorant: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” A centurion and a few companions were converted that very afternoon.
Jesus has given us his example on Calvary to bear under persecution, misunderstanding, and lovelessness with the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts.