Ordinary Time 2023
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. We are now in Ordinary time for some six months until Advent on Dec. 2nd. 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 25
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 no regrets!
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