Ordinary Time 2019
The liturgical year is measured
in “seasons” of time. First there is Advent, then the Christmas Season,
Ordinary time, Lent, the Easter Season, and Ordinary time again. Each season
has a different emphasis. In ordinary time we focus on the life, journeys and
teachings of Jesus. Ordinary (ordered sequentially) time is the longest season
in the church calendar broken up by the Lent/Easter seasons.
I have noticed there is an
obsession with time for those in the music industry. Since time is common to
all, they exploit this treasure in their compositions. I am a lover of music,
especially music from the 70’s and 80’s. Here are some examples: Time in a
Bottle by Jim Croce. Time Won’t Let Me by the Outsiders. Does Anybody Really
Know What Time It Is? by Chicago. Too much time on my hands by Styx. Time of
the Season by the Zombies. If I could turn back time by Cher. Time Passages by
Al Stewart. Time is flowing like a river to the sea by the Alan Parsons
Project…Perhaps you can think of more?
Various songwriter’s messages
about time takes on a wide spectrum. From the Guess Who singing: “No time left
for me…” to The Rolling Stones who sang: “Time, is on my side.”
I think we would all agree, time
is a precious commodity. The culture says, “Time is money.” In truth, no amount
of money can buy it. Time is a gift of inestimable value. Just ask someone on
death row or an elderly person on their death bed.
I’ve discovered that time heals.
Whether it be a breakup in a relationship or grieving someone you love, the
passage of time has a way of putting soothing oil on any wound.
We’ve all heard “time flies when
you’re having fun.” When I play golf I take my watch off. I don’t want to
encumber my swing. More than that, I don’t want to know what time it is. I
enter the realm of play. While I enjoy, suddenly the round is over. Time does
fly when I’m playing, listening to music and creating new material.
How is it that some never seem to
get a grip on time while others are fruitful and produce abundantly with their
life? We all have the same number of seconds, minutes and hours in our day. Yet
some produce so much while others seem frustrated and fruitless.
Time management is the key.
Instead of just floating along with the current, steer your vessel. Be disciplined and apply yourself. Don’t just
“go with the flow,” rather, create momentum!
People ask me all the time,
“Where do you find the time to write 22 books?” I tell them, “I don’t find
time, I make time.” There is always
something vying for my time including leisure. But I am goal oriented. I don’t
let other things get in the way. Plus, I’ve discovered “boredom is overrated.”
I’d rather apply myself and work than be bored. Amen?
Same with prayer. Unless you have
a goal to make prayer your priority, time has a way of slipping into the future
and prayer becomes an afterthought. But if you are disciplined and plan things
out, your preparation will lead to purposeful, meaningful, prayerful, fruitful
lives. Seize the day before the day seizes you! After a short time, a
disciplined life becomes a lifestyle
of discipleship (notice: discipline/disciple, same root word) and fruitfulness.
Then, truly, as the Stones sing, “time it’s on my side…yes it is!”
The Scriptures speak of time in
many and varied ways. A few examples: “Now is the acceptable time.” “Today is
the day of salvation.” “The time is fulfilled.” “One day is like a thousand
years and a thousand years like a day.” “God gives us time because of his
patience, waiting for us to repent.”
Biblically, time is the fabric by
which we have the opportunity to come
to eternal life. Time is the great
opportunity. Time is the sequential, ordered gift of God.
We gain wisdom by understanding
the “shortness of our life.” Once I visited St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. On
the left side towards the front, a haunting statue: It was the final sculpture
of the 80 year old Bernini. It is a statue of death holding an hourglass and
the sand is quickly slipping away. This statue is a warning to all. It’s
timeless message? Time is quickly passing and we all must use it to prepare for
death. We must make the most of the
time we have, because as we the Steve Miller band so rightly sang, “time keeps
on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.” And, “time waits for no one,
no not even you,” to quote the Moody Blues.
What are we to do?
That was the question those
gathered at Pentecost asked. Peter responded, “Repent.” Personal change is the
same truth Jesus announced when he said the time is fulfilled “Repent and
believe in the Good news.”
When it comes to time, you have
to start somewhere. A great starting place is making a new dedication of
yourself to the Lord. Make time to listen to Jesus’ teachings and the
teachings of the daily Mass. Create time for prayer. Respond by surrendering
your heart to the Lord over and over and over again many times a day. Turn away
from any known sin. Dedicate yourself to a fruit bearing lifestyle of
discipline and time management. Live with Passion! not passivity.
This long season of Ordinary time (green symbolizing life) can be
anything but ordinary if you seize the moments. We have been given a gift…time.
It can’t be held in a bottle because it is always slipping into the future.
Today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Time moves quickly. Time seems to move faster
the older we get. Cher’s wish won’t happen. We can’t turn back time. Live with
We are given great optimism in
the Bible: Now is the acceptable time. Today is the day of salvation!
Therefore, keep making a fresh dedication of yourself to the Lord. Even though
time passes, it will be working for you, not against you. As the Rolling Stones
sang, “tiiiime is on your side...Yes it is!”