It is not always correct to say that we have to make an absolute choice between the world and the Kingdom of God. It is obvious that we are dependent to a certain degree upon the world, if only for the term of our mortal lives here on earth. We live as citizens in the world but we choose to be looking forward to the life to come rather than expending all of our energies upon the things of this world.
Having said that, it is important to remember that we do have to make various choices regarding where and how we use the resources of our lives whether they be material wealth or natural talents. These choices are not insignificant. Gaudium et Spes, the document on ‘The Church in the Modern World’ from Vatican II reminds us that we have a responsibility to build up and put at the disposal of the family of mankind, the resources of the earth. This idea is drawn from the fact that God gave humanity dominion over the earth at the time of creation. (Gen 1:26-31). This dominion is expressed concretely by the way in which we live.
We can choose to live for the here and now with little or no regard for the eternal life to come. We can choose to live as a responsible citizen of this passing world with our hearts and minds fixed upon the promise of eternal life. These are the two choices we have in their barest forms. It is up to each one of to let God know where we stand.
The Gospel today reminds us that the ‘will of the world’ and the ‘will of God’ can be in opposition to one another. If this is the case it is obvious where we have to stand as Christians. We must choose to align ourselves with God and the truths of the Gospel over and against anything that the world might say or do. This will mean inevitable conflict, however, we can take heart from the fact that Jesus has walked this path before us.
How easily does the world and its ways and philosophies affect the way that I live my life? Do I have a firm grasp upon the truths of the Gospel? Am I will to stand up for them even if it means conflict with the world?
Holy Spirit, you were sent to strengthen me to stand for the truth of the Gospel. Help me to first understand these truths so that I will be better able to defend them when they are challenged by the world.