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Engaging the Word: January 25, 2015

If a key point of exploration for last week’s readings was the reality that humans are constantly faced with the question “What ought I to do next?” and are drawn to finding a key to answering that question wisely, this week’s message is “Do it now!”

Jonah is inspired by God to announce that the people of Nineveh are destroying themselves by the way they are living and sets out at once to respond to the Lord’s call. He is struck immediately with the immensity of the task, but he perseveres, one step at a time. The people take heed and turn around their lives and truly live. Paul admonishes the Corinthians that time is short, life is short. In his counsel that those who are married should live as though they are not and that those who are weeping should live as though they are not sad and so on, Paul is reminding his readers not to stop short at the surface of the relationships, experiences, and things of this life but rather to see through them to what is eternal. This present life is not rendered unimportant in Paul’s reasoning but of the utmost importance; we just need the right perspective. Live eternal life now — enter it now and the superficial world passes away at once.

The fact that we can respond at once to the love of God in loving ways at any time and no matter what we have done in the past is the Gospel that Jesus preached. By God’s grace, the Kingdom of God – that condition in which the way God wants things to be is the way God wants things to be – is at hand, at our hands. The Good News is that at any moment we can step into the Kingdom. Let’s do it. Let’s do it now. Dropping our nets like Jesus’ first disciples does not mean that we need to change jobs or where we live but rather that we need to see through our current circumstances to the love that God offers us through this life and then put all we do, have, and are at the service of love.

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