Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

To live as pilgrims and strangers 

I tell you, brothers, the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in its present form is passing away. 1Cor 7,29-31

We approach these verses of  the first letter to the Corinthians, asking the Spirit to enlighten us on the meaning to be given to these words of Paul. The exhortation to “those weeping……those rejoicing … ….those buying”, do not require special explanation, but the phrase  “the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them” really needs to be investigated by us and enlightened by the Spirit.

The christian vision of the life and of the world can be summarized in the three mandates of the Lord to the man: the first two from the book of Genesis, the third from the Gospels. The first concerns the family and the relationship within the married couple: “God created man in his image …. male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: ’Be fertile and multiply’ ” (Gn 1,27-28). It is the mandate to the man and to the woman to build-up a family and to be one only thing in the spirit and in the flesh and the fruit of this marriage has to be the procreation of the sons. The second madate concerns the human work, to get from everything which God created the sustenance to live and to progress: “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gn 2,15). As a result of the sin, the man is fallen from his original state, the Lord has put in place his plan of salvation and through his Son, Jesus of Nazareth, has made a second creation, whose historical implementation is entrusted to the Church. It is from this divine strategy that the third mandate has been originated: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16,15). Pondering on how these three mandates are under implementation in the history, it is clear that not all the christians, for objective reasons or for a different project of the Lord, as that of the priesthood, are intending to be a family and to procreate sons, but everyone is called to work and to evangelize. Most of the people, however, are called to live the reality of the marriage and of the procreation; what meaning would have, otherwise, the verses of Paul’s letter: “the time is running out. From now on, let those having wives act as not having them”? The meaning of this exhortation seems clear to us : it means that the housband and the wife are called to implement in the union their plan of life, but with the spirit of the pilgrim and of the stranger, because they will meet their true home in the eternity. It seems also that the different mandates of the life have be lived in an integrated way, because we are simultaneously sons, married couples, citizens of the world, workers and missionaries. It is, then, necessary  to draw, in the faith and in the prayer, the spirit of God to clarify, harmonize and sublimate the different roles which we must live. And, above all, we are called to live in the joy, because this whole project, even if temporary, is wonderful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *