“The hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think he is offering worship to God.”
It seems to be universally true that no one likes a “nay-sayer” or a “prophet of doom.” We simply don't like to hear about all the things that can go wrong and how likely it is that they will. And often we find that pessimism is self-fulfilling—if we expect things to go wrong, they will.
And Christianity is not a religion of pessimism. The word Gospel literally means, “the good news.” The fact that our Lord lived and died for us ought to inspire a certain confidence—we can say that “God is on our side,: and we can quote that old proverb that “with God, even one is a majority.”
God is the author of life. And He made it to be lived—and within reasonable limits, to be enjoyed. The Psalms speak of “wine to gladden the hearts of men,” and of rejoicing that “God has covered the mountains with flocks” of sheep. We read in the New Testament that our Lord enjoyed the company of other people; dining with Lazarus and Martha and Mary, attending the wedding feast at Cana, even socializing with such diverse groups as the Pharisees and the tax collectors.
But our Lord is also a realist. And in today's Gospel we read something of a warning about the opposition we may encounter if we are good Catholics, living in the secular world. (This is just an excerpt, and it is worth reading the entire story in John 14-16.) “If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you.” It just stands to reason that if the people in power would crucify our Lord, they will not be very enthusiastic about anyone who follows in His footsteps.
The devil is very real, and his forces of darkness would like to remove all recognition of Jesus Christ from civil society, and even from the Catholic Church. And, clever corrupter that he is, the devil puts it in the mind of those who do his work that they are doing good—he even allows them to think that they are doing God's work when they “expel you from the synagogue” —to “think that they are offering worship when they kill you.”
God is not a pessimist, but He is a realist. And He knows that we will face opposition for trying to keep His ways in the world. The readings of today's Mass offer some advice for dealing with sort of frustration:
First, St. Peter tells us,
And, our Lord promises us something quite powerful—something we should take pains to nurture in our lives. He tells us so that we will not be scandalized by the opposition of the world He will send us the Advocate, the Holy Ghost.
And we know that if we remain in the state of grace, the Holy Ghost will dwell within us, bringing us qualities like wisdom and understanding and fortitude and piety and fear of the Lord—those qualities which are so necessary for dealing with the world; for changing the things that can be changed, and accepting those that cannot.
Likewise, as the Holy Ghost remains with us, He brings us certain dispositions; some which perfect the soul in itself, like charity and joy and peace and patience; others which perfect us in our relationship with our neighbors, like goodness and kindness and mildness and fidelity; still others help us to keep our actions in line with God's will, like chastity and modesty and prudence and temperance.
Nobody likes a “nay-sayer,” but only the foolish expect everything to go right all of the time, while living as a Christian in the world. So, do be prepared: