Wednesday, September 13, 2006

23rd Wednesday in Ordinary Time (II)
Neither Escaping Nor Engrossed

Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:25-31; Psalm 44; Luke 6:20-26

Life is difficult. So begins the bestselling book by Dr. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. The Buddha would have approved. Indeed some would say that all religions and philosophies have as their central preoccupation the provision of some way in which to help people cope with the difficulties of life. What is one approach when one is faced with the trials of life? Find some means of escape. Even the great apostle Paul’s own opinion on celibacy seems to treat it as a means of being spared the troubles of married life.

But life can also be beautiful and enjoyable. Indeed, for some, life can be so comfortable as to be intoxicating. The tendency then is to become too engrossed in the affairs of this world, and to forget what Paul tries to emphasize: that the world as we know it is passing away.

Could the Christian challenge be to find some middle ground between escaping and being too engrossed? Could Christ’s sermon on the plain in Luke’s gospel provide some way to do this? Here Christ calls his disciples to embrace the inevitable poverty, hunger and sorrow of human existence, but only so as to find ways to transform them into the kingdom of God. To become too engrossed in the pursuit of wealth, satisfaction and worldly joy, to try to escape the inevitable trials of earthly existence, is this not also to forget that the world as we know it is passing away – that God’s kingdom is close at hand?

How Christian is our approach to the circumstances of our daily existence?

1 comment:

  1. To be in this world and yet out of it. To be alive, one should be dead to the fear of dying. This is the very tension of existence. An eternal paradox.
    Is there such a way as the middle path? To tread carefully is to succumb to fear. I grapple with this daily, examining my actions and intentions. Pray always.