Wise In his Age or In the Age to Come? (Thurs. July 21)

The word for today is “age.” In video games, you explore different worlds. The potential for the creation of such alternative universes are endless. But these possibilities pose a question, in what “world” do we live in? In our reading of 1 Corinthians 3:18-23, St. 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 reality greater “this age” or “this world.”

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

Every Age Has Its Own Wisdom

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 span of time which has its own characteristics. Every age has its own wisdom, the wisdom of “this world.” However, if we are delivered from this current time frame, then we belong to another.  We have been “called out” 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 to come..

The Wisdom of the Age to Come

In other words, by faith and in 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 age demands that we adopt an opposite way of thinking.

We might say that one way of thinking is “kingdom-of this-world” thinking. The other way is “Kingdom-of-God” thinking. Thus to belong to the new age, we must adapt to what the world would call foolishness.

For reflection: what age and what world do we live in? If we can enter into the alternate world of a mystery from a streaming TV network or 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 together in the fellowship of the Church, we learn the wisdom of God. We begin to walk in the hope of the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God and the eternal life of the age to come.

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