Two worlds are described in our readings at Mass this week from the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Hebrews. The Gospel of Mark tells of the world that Jesus lived in over two thousand years ago, the world of Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee, where he called his first disciples, encountered a demon in the synagogue, cured Peter’s mother in law, the paralyzed man and the leper. (Mark 1,14-2,12) That same world continues in the one we live in now.
Then, there’s the world described in the Letter to the Hebrews, a world to which Jesus ascended at his resurrection. He enters that world as Lord of all creation; he sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, our creed says.
The Letter to the Hebrews describes him further as a High Priest entering a heavenly sanctuary to intercede for us. He’s a merciful High Priest, the same Jesus who entered Capernaum and cured Peter’s mother in law, the paralyzed man and the leper. He’s knows our humanity with its weakness and its yearning; he carries the wounds of suffering and death.
It’s hard to keep these two worlds in mind, but our readings, like our creed, tell us to do it. They’re not sealed off, they’re joined to each other. They have a common goal: “Our Father, thy will done, thy kingdom come.” The Risen Jesus is present in both of these worlds. He’s Savior and Redeemer. Through him, God’s kingdom will come.
Unfortunately, some today only think of the world they see now. Others are unsure or confused about a world beyond this one. Some see the world beyond as an escape from this life, an isolated world in the clouds. For some the world beyond is a world we make, a world without Jesus Christ and the mystery of his resurrection.
Some conclude it’s just not important to think about it. But that’s wrong. What we think about life beyond this determines how we live now. It makes a difference.