Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26)
The man could not stop gambling. He had been in the casino some while. He lost all that he could afford to lose and much more. Then he dipped into his savings. Soon the money reserved for taxes was bet and lost. He felt he could still beat the system. Of course, it beat him. He went home broke, worried, and angry at himself. This scenario holds for other kinds of compulsions as well as gambling. People often lose what is very important in attempt to achieve some elusive satisfaction. In the first reading today St. Paul warns the Corinthians not to allow sex to be their downfall.
Paul knows that sex is not intrinsically evil. He does not condemn it, but he expresses his reservations about it candidly. If one can live without it, the apostle advises, he will probably be happier in the end. Believing that Christ is to return soon, Paul does not mention having children. All that really matters is to prepare oneself for that great event by living righteously. It is paramount that the person not lose herself in the pursuit of pleasure.
Although even yet Christ has not returned, we still will experience a shortage of time if we spend it profligately in vain pursuits. Sex, of course, is a prime suspect. Other potential pitfalls are alcohol, gambling, and even acquiring electronic gadgets. These pursuits need not be judged as evil in themselves. But if they take control of good judgment, they will detour us from Christ. That would be a pity because Christ brings the lasting happiness that our hearts desire.