“You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world” (Jn 8:23).
Jesus is not making a judgment on humanity or creation. All that God has created is good, including us. If that were not so, the Son of God would not have become one of us in our humanity. Jesus is the incarnate Son of God. He is one divine person, the Son, with a human and a divine nature, as well as a human and divine will. Jesus came to restore that which was lost in the fall. Jesus came to heal and restore us to the fullness of our likeness and image, the full reality of who his Father created us to be.
The “world” is the finite reality of the fallen human condition apart from our participation in the will of God. It is the apparent good of claiming that we know best and that we do not need God. The world is a distortion of what God intended, humanity as well as creation. This continues because of our turning away from the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom, the refusal to care for each other and the earth that God has given us by using and abusing humanity and the vast natural resources for our own selfish gain. God’s grace builds on nature when we willingly accept God’s invitation to participate and collaborate with his will.
We are only passing through this fallen and weary world. We are pilgrims on a journey. Each day we can choose to contribute to the false narrative of a world devoid of the reality of God, that fuels countless acts of inhumanity, violence, wars, and environmental degradation in which we merely exist for a time and are gone. Or we can choose to align ourselves with the One who came to restore and transform us.
Each day we can choose to follow the will of God to support the dignity of each human being, be advocates of access, healing, and reconciliation as well as be peacemakers and faithful stewards of the earth. Each day we can make a difference by choosing to belong to what is above, so that God’s will can be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Photo: A good model for us in this matter, St. Francis of Assisi – taken at the cathedral of St. Ignatius of Loyola in Paim Beach Gardens, FL.