Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Philippians 3:17-4:1; Luke 16:1-8)
Dual citizenship is not as uncommon as it once was. Descendants of Italian emigrants to other lands, for example, can receive Italian citizenship when they go in Italy. Although St. Paul does not have this kind of arrangement in mind when he writes the Philippians that Christians have “citizenship…in heaven,” the idea bears reflection.
Paul wants to warn his readers not to copy the ways of the pagan majority. He sees the obsession with fine dining and the ubiquitous references to sex in Greek society as anti-Christian. Disciples of Jesus, he would say, do not belong to such a realm. According to him, their homeland is the kingdom of God which is still to come in fullness. For now, he would recommend, they are only to comply with the laws of the land like immigrants and not its mores. They receive their living directives from the gospel.
Today, because we of the Christian humanization of much of the world, we find many positive elements in secular society. To be sure, we must proceed prudently; still, we can actively participate in social affairs without undue worry over contamination. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council promoted such engagement so that the world might be increasingly prepared for the coming of God’s kingdom in its fullness.