We are often judged by the company we keep. My daughter experienced this at school. A new teacher arrived and assumed she was not a hard-working student because of one friend. I heard, “It’s not fair!” and I would tell her sometimes that’s the way it is. What were her options? To leave her friend behind and possibly be viewed differently, or to stick with her friend and continue to be judged wrongly?
The teachings of Jesus were radically different and quite scary for the religious leaders of the day. Jesus was hated and, by association, the disciples were, too. The persecution of Jesus would no doubt lead to the persecution of the disciples. What were they to do?
Jesus told the disciples that they would be judged because of him. Jesus told them to love one another. In other words, don’t abandon each other; stick together, because there is strength in numbers. Together they would be able to tell the story of God’s love and compassion. Even through times of persecution, they would be able to go forward and spread the word of God.
Faithful God, be with us as we proclaim your word and spread your love to the world. Amen. — GB