Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
(I Corinthians 7:25-31; Luke 6:20-26)
In his famous inaugural address John Kennedy spoke of a new generation taking responsibility for the world. He outlined the challenges facing the leaders, especially controlling the power of nuclear arms and alleviating the burdens on the poor. He also mentioned what virtues were in order – justice and courage. Both today’s first reading and gospel likewise herald a new epoch. They declare that the old order of sin is ending and a disposition of peace and justice is in the wings.
St. Paul writes that the end is so near that there is no need to marry and raise a family. Rather he suggests that everyone dedicate themselves to preparing for the Lord’s return. In the gospel Jesus declares that the poor need not weep and the hungry need not worry for the Kingdom of God has arrived and is theirs to enjoy.
We should ask ourselves what happened to these promises. Has the Kingdom come or not? Is it still wiser not to marry? The answer may be more complicated than we would like. Yes, the Kingdom has come, at least in part. Those, like St. Teresa of Kolkata, who feel urged to work for its full implementation should not marry and have a family. But the end is not likely going to be tomorrow or next year or even in this century. Realization of this likelihood should not disappoint us. Quite the contrary, we should be redoubling our efforts to make the Kingdom happen. In doing so, we will find ourselves in its midst as if we were working in a cloud of cool air beneath the hot sun.