If the world hates you, remember that the world hated me before you. This would not be so if you belonged to the world, because the world loves its own. But you are not of the world, since I have chosen you from the world; because of this the world hates you.
Remember what I told you: the servant is not greater than his master; if they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. All this they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know the One who sent me.
When the first man landed on the moon in 1969 and took a first step on that planet, those who watched this momentous event on television understood that this particular step on the lunar surface was one which changed history forever. With that step, the exploration of space was launched—and only God knows where it will lead to.
In today’s first reading something as momentous is being described. For, if we look at a map, we will see what that reading is telling us. It is telling us that the Holy Spirit prevented Paul from making a detour through the Roman province called Asia and from going north to the province of Bithynia. We have the distinct impression here that the Spirit is putting Paul on a direct route to—EUROPE! Until then Paul had always limited his apostolate to what we call today the Near East. But the Spirit wants the Gospel to reach the whole world, and that means for Paul to cross over to Macedonia, a province of Greece, a part of Europe. That decision of Paul changed the face of history—and, through it all, it was the Holy Spirit who was gently guiding him. Do we trust that the same Spirit can also guide our lives towards greatness?
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