"We gather in faith..."

Teaching and commentary from our pastor, Bishop Francis J. Christian

Reflections

It is sometimes said that Christians are called

to be “in the world, but not of the world.” On the

one hand, as the Second Vatican Council put it, “The

joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the

men of this age, especially those who are poor or in

any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the

griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.”

Christians share the good things and bad things of

life with all other people of the world; they do not

live in a sealed-off enclave. On the other hand,

Christians look in hop to a reality that goes beyond

what the world can offer: ‘we have come to know

and believe in the love God has for us.”

The Gospel of John speaks of hostility between

the followers of Jesus and “the world.” This does

not refer to hostility between Christians and their

fellow human beings. Rather, it refers to the way in

which a worldview that rejects the truth of the love

that God has for us is at odds with the way in which

Christians understand the joys, hopes, griefs, and

anxieties that all people share. “The world,” as

John uses the term sees the joys and hopes of life as

something in limited supply that can only be attained

through power, and life’s griefs and anxieties as

something that other people suffer so that we don’t

have to. As such, Christians do not belong to the

world, for “the world” in this sense is fundamentally

at odds with Christian faith in God’s love. That love

leads Christians to embrace the griefs and anxieties

of others, so as to share with them their hope for the

complete joy that comes from God.