Psalm 100:1-3, 5
Not only in our Gospel reading today but in many other places, Jesus makes it clear that the world is going to hate his disciples. He is so adamant about this that we can be sure that if the world hates us we are doing well, and if the world loves us we are doing something wrong, but this benchmark requires some clarification. What kind of hatred exactly is a good sign? If we are obnoxious, the world will hate us too. The world hates many things; not all of them are good.
There are those who are always taking the “common sense position” which means the position that most people are going to take. They are not rooted in the truth, so they float wherever the prevailing winds take them. A disciple of Jesus Christ is not like this. We are attached to the truth. Anything which tries to pull us away from the truth will hate us because we will not go.
The hatred of the world is frustration and anger. The world tried to conquer but failed, so it throws a temper tantrum. What we want to inspire in the world is not just hatred at us because we are mean and selfish but confusion because we are not. Many people have made peace with the world because they were convinced that they could not be good or that there was no such thing as good. The true disciple of Jesus is a living contradiction to the world.
Mother Theresa is a perfect case study for this question. She was loved by the vast majority of people. She did not compromise the truth to make this happen. She freely preached against abortion and other evils. Still there were those who hated her. One man wrote a book filled with lies arguing that she was a terrible person. The world does not refer to the majority of people, nor even to any group of people rather than another. The world refers to the love of sin which lives in our own souls.
The people that a Christian should delight to be hated by are those who have embraced sin and made their attachment to sin public. Above all, each Christian should see a war within themselves. An excellent sign that we are doing well is when a part of us, the old self, hates the new life we are living, even though we are truly happy.