Dear Good People of Saint Mary,
Last week I wrote about the Advent theme of the power of silence and waiting. This week I would like to speak a moment about the power of Time.
Time is probably the greatest gift that God gave us. The angels didn’t get it, it is something completely foreign to God, as one of the attributes that we know about God is that God cannot change. Change is inevitable with time.
Funny, change is also probably the most resisted reality of our lives. Change isn’t easy, it isn’t welcome, and it makes us nervous.
Yet, it is unique to who we are that, as creatures placed in time and space, we are put here to change. And our religious life is programmed each year—from start to finish—according to the way the Church has ordered the calendar to the Mysteries of Christ. We begin with this time of longing, fulfilled in the Incarnation of Jesus at Christmas. Then, after Mother of God (and our Mother), Holy Family, Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord, we go right to his public life, baptized and sent forth into the world. We live his preaching and his miracles—Word and Sacrament, Scripture and living Tradition as it unfolds in our parish life.
Then Lent begins, a time of reflection and soul searching. We know that Jesus is ready and willing to obey his Father and home to save us. Well, he came, he comes, and he saves. What must we do to put our houses in order for this most beautiful expression of God’s love, the Last Supper meal, the Cross, the empty tomb of Easter, then his glorified life with us, finally his ascension to heaven and the birth of the Church at Pentecost, to be ready to receive his Spirit?
So then we come to the beginning of Summer. We reflect on our ministry, our life, how we are called and what gifts God has given us to accomplish the mission of Jesus. The mission of Jesus is given to us in the Church, to carry forward exactly what Jesus was doing in his public life, which has now become our public life. The Cross is the moment of now—when we realize that every moment of life is a moment of transition—of change—in which we decide to move from the old and be renewed, reborn.
The circle comes back around again, and again, every year of our lives, however much Time God as given us to live it. But the secret is not to become familiar with the Mysteries of Christ; it’s not like we pass a test and then we’re good to go for the rest of our lives. Each year as the events come back around, we need to find ourselves changed, on a higher plane. The circle of Time needs to spiral upward (if sin could be considered spiraling downward) so that each road marker finds us living a new, more fulfilled life, that “fullness of charity” that we pray for at every Mass.
We find this “new thing” in both the revelation of the Old Testament, and in the Book of Revelation in the New: It is you and me.
“Thus says the Lord who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters. Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing, even now it is springing to light. Do you not perceive it? A way will I make in the wilderness and rivers in the desert!” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19.
And from the seer of the New Testament, Saint John whose feast we celebrate shortly after Christmas:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down . . . and I heard a great voice from the throne saying: Behold, the dwelling of God is with men . . . he will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, for the former things have passed away… Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 21:1-5
Some people call this change deepening (Confirmation), healing and conversion (Reconciliation), commitment (Marriage and Holy Orders or Religious Life). We choose what to do with this precious gift of time that God has so graciously given to each of us sometimes in a most unnoticed way. But our attention is drawn to this gift of Time and the Call that is inherent to it. Time is of no value unless you do something with it!
This weekend, Gaudete Sunday, we use the color rose to indicate joy. There is joy even in waiting patiently, as we anticipate the richness, diversity of God in his Newness.
God bless you.