Upon first reading we may think that St. Paul has a prejudice against marriage. While he praises the values of virginity, he also shows us that marriage is a symbol of the union between Christ and his Church. That comparison reflects a very elevated view of marriage. But St. Paul’s point is not the superiority of one state over another, but single mindedness in the service of God, whether we are a priest. religious, married or single. St. Paul’s advice is that we are not to become involved in anything that will distract us from the ultimate purpose of life.
There is an urgency in his message because the Early Church thought that the Second Coming of Christ would happen in their lifetime. St. Paul encourages us to take life seriously. The time is short for all of us, whether Christ comes before we die or not.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord taught a sense of values according to which we should live, values which are challenging because they are so different from what the world takes for granted. Our Lord declared that those are blessed who are poor, hungry, sorrowful and hated. It’s a strange set of values, but his point is that the people in these conditions are those who, instinctively turn to God for help in their lives and as the ultimate source of their happiness.
We must ask ourselves what we want from life. As Religious, are we content to live simple lives, humbly dependent on God and each other, our only wealth being the love of God in our hearts that we are eager to share with others? The time is very short, for our lives are passing away with every moment.