Delivered from This Age: Living in the Age to Come (July 29)

The word for today is “age.”  In video games, the gamer explores different worlds.  The potential for the creation of such alternative universes is endless.  But these possibilities pose a question.  In what “world” do we live?  In our reading of 1 Corinthians 3:18-23, Paul speaks of “being wise in this age” (OSB vs. 18).  Again, he speaks of the “wisdom of this world” (OSB vs. 19).  Today we explore the thought that the Lord has called us to live in a higher reality than “this age” or “this world.”

In his comments on our reading, St. John Chrysostom says, “For all with us goes by contraries” (NfPF1:12, 54).  The opposites that the famous preacher has in mind are summed up in the admonition to become “a fool unto the world” (NfPF1:12, 54).  This directive suggests that one can be wise with worldly wisdom.  Alternatively, one can be a fool according to earthly wisdom but wise to God.

Delivered from “This Present Evil Age”

In Galatians, Paul suggests that these contrasting forms of wisdom apply to different “ages.”  He writes, Christ “gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil age…” (Galatians 1:4).  An “age” is a time span that has its own characteristics.  Thus, we live in the epoch of the 21st Century, a time frame that has its own worldly wisdom.

However, the Lord has delivered us from “our present evil age.”  Instead, we belong to another time.  We have been “called out” of the current epoch to have our life in another era.  Remember that Chrysostom says that we who believe in Christ see everything in terms of contrasts.  What is proper to one age is not suitable to another.  Even so, the wisdom of “this world” is foolishness to the age into which the Lord has delivered us.

The Thinking of the New Creation

In other words, by faith and hope, we belong to a new world order.  And in this New Creation, our thinking must change.  The wisdom that enables us to get along in “this age” and “this world” is contrary to the thinking of the “age to come.”  To live in the new epoch demands that we adopt an opposite way of thinking.

Accordingly, we have the choice between two ways of thinking: “kingdom-of this-world” thinking or “Kingdom-of-God” thinking.  Thus to belong to the new age, we must adapt to what the world would call foolishness.

For Reflection

In what age and what world do we live?  If we can enter into the alternate world of a mystery novel and if we can negotiate the world of a video game, we can surely live in the reality of the Kingdom.  By prayer, scripture, liturgy, sacraments, works of mercy, and sharing in the church’s fellowship, we learn the wisdom of the new age to which we belong.  And we begin to walk in the hope of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.   Already, we live in the eternal life of the age to come.

 

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