“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of/because of the Son of man (ἕνεκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου)! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” (Lk 6: 22-23)
How can we know when we’re “hated” or “excluded” or rejected in some other way, specifically “because of the Son of man,” and not for some other reason? We know this is happening “because of the Son of man” when we are rejected specifically for being ourselves, according to our “vocation”; I mean, according to our response to Christ’s call to us personally, to be and to act and to serve according to our God-given character, faith, background, and all our other gifts and challenges.
Rejection, always painful, does not always come in the form our Lord describes here. We might experience it in the form of “unrequited love,” from a person or people who, having come to know us, as ourselves, give(s) us a “thumbs down.” We’re “excluded” from the love and company of this person or people, effectively because we are who we are, and as we are. This is painful, but as our Lord tells us, it is a “blessing.” Why? Because, if I discern the matter in light of my “vocation,” rather than try and change it, twisting myself into a people-pleasing pretzel and trying to be more acceptable/agreeable to the one(s) rejecting me, I grow to embrace more the “me” that God calls me to be. I become more who I am, in Him.
Lord, I may not “leap for joy,” at this point, when rejected, but help me stay focused on Your call to me, in grateful acceptance of the me You have given, that I may be “blessed,” even when “excluded” by human opinion.