The word “world” occurs six times in two verses, today, so I think it is worth exploring. In John 3:16 we read the famous line: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” In that text “world” means us, human beings, and even all of the breathtaking universe that God created. But in today’s text (John 15: 18 & 29) the “world” is everything that is opposed to Jesus. Jesus is life, light and love, and the world is their opposites: death, darkness, and hatred. And this is why the world hates us, his disciples, as it hated Jesus: “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” We may not actually suffer persecution, but we ought, at least, to find ourselves in deep disagreement with many of the values swirling around us.
In Ignatian language the world wants to move us toward riches, power and prestige/pride. Jesus urges us toward poverty, or at least responsible simple-living, powerlessness, and humility.
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.