Sunday, 21 January 2018

Hard Sun, 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

1 Cor 7:29-31; Mk 1:14-20
The last couple weeks I’ve been watching a new Sci Fi series on the BBC called “Hard Sun”.
I’ll spare you the details, but it’s about the world being ended in a disaster by a catastrophic sun event (currently unspecified).  In the TV series, the world isn’t going to end for 5 years: not today, not tomorrow, but you know its ending in 5 years.
The drama of the TV series is about how people might react to the certain knowledge that the world is ending.
I’m not recommending the TV series to you, because it’s basically rubbish (my sophisticated analysis), but it provides a moment to for us to consider today how we SHOULD react to knowing that the world will end.
Despair?        Indifference?                        A last blow-out indulgence of gluttony?

As Christians, we have a rather significant angle on this. 
As we heard in our second reading, from St Paul to the Corthinians, “The order of this world is passing away”(1 Cor 7:31).
As the Lord Jesus revealed, repeatedly, when He returns, He will return in glory and judge (e.g. Mt 25) and transform this world.
As the book of Revelation describes, “there will be a new heaven and a new earth… for the order of the past [will be] no more”(Rev 21:1, 4).
On one level, a major part of this is obvious to any man of reason: every time I look in the mirror and examine my receding hairline, I think, “The order of this world is passing way”. But we, in addition, have a particular Christian grasp of this fact.
But, how should we FEEL about that?

One reaction is despair, to be so rooted in this world that the thought of it ending brings unquenchable sadness.
Another reaction is self-indulgence, to grab pleasure while you can, to live just for yourself, because we take the wrong practical conclusion from St Paul’s warning, “the time is growing short”(1 Cor 7:29)

A completely different reaction is to decide to live what time is left by the values we have thus-far FAILED to properly live:
Generosity, kindness, self-sacrifice; 
Giving my time to prayer, being more frequent at weekday Mass, and so forth.

The Christian teaching that, “the order of this world is passing away”, is a crucial part of the Lord’s call for us to live with our heart set on ANOTHER world.
There is much in world that is a “vale of tears”(Ps 84:6),
            and to live as if this world was ALL there was to live for, is the greatest sadness.
One event, beyond all others, should change our sense of which world we are living for, namely, meeting the Lord Jesus.
In the Gospel text we heard today, Simon, Andrew, James, and John, were all busy about the affairs of THIS world: they were fishermen, mending their nets, working in their boats.
But then THE LORD came and called them, “Follow me” (Mk 1:17).
He said practically nothing about what He was calling them TO, but, as I noted last week, they had already spent time with Him, they had already encountered something NEW in Him.
And so they left their nets, and accepted the call to “Follow” (Mk 1:17) Him.
They stopped looking to the world they had, but to WHATEVER lay ahead in the Lord.

One day this world will end, maybe by an explosion of the sun, as on the BBC TV series,
maybe tomorrow or next year,
But it will definitely end -and that’s a GOOD thing!
            There is much good in this world, even with its tears, but something BETTER is available.
If WE accept that “the order of this world is passing away”,

THEN we should be ready to live a new life, whatever following Him involves.

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