January 3, 2016 – A View from the Rectory Window

 

We are coming to the end of another year. The media is filled with commentaries on the year that will soon be consigned to history, and speculative predictions on what lies ahead. We have always marked time by     significant events. The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will do so. What events and what messages are we proclaiming?

How many times have we spoken of the stress we have experienced due to the demands on our time? Yet, for the Christian, time is not meant to become a tyrant ruling over us. Time is the road along which God’s loving plan of redemption proceeds in our individual lives and in the history of this world.

The Lord who created time gives us time as a gift. By entering into time He removed the curse it held over all men and women by defeating death. In Him, time now becomes a field of choice wherein we can grow in       holiness, experience true happiness and find real freedom. We can begin to participate in God’s loving plan to recreate the entire cosmos in and through Jesus Christ.

Christians mark time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are moving   toward His loving return. For Catholic Christians, the Catholic liturgical year follows a rhythmic cycle. It points us toward beginnings and ends and, in so doing, emphasizes an important truth that can only be grasped through faith, every end is a beginning.

So it is with each day of our lives. There really is a Divine design. Every morning invites us to begin again. Hope is reborn with every sunrise. As we move from one year to the next, we also move along the in the timeline of human life allotted to each one of us. We age. The certainty of our death is meant to illuminate our life and the certainty of the end of all time and the coming of the Lord is meant to illuminate time’s very purpose and       fulfillment in Christ.

As the Apostle John recorded in the Revelation he received on the Island of Patmos, our use of time is meant to bear good fruit. We are called to bear a harvest which will accompany us into eternity. It will – if we have an intimate relationship with the One who both gives and governs time. Time is the opportunity for the Christian to bear fruit that remains. Jesus reminds us, “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” (St. John 15: 16, 17).

We can decide whether we will use time for bearing good fruit or are used by time as a tyrant who frightens us as we fruitlessly try to resist his claim on our perceived youth. This act of choosing rightly helps us to develop a disposition; a way of living that involves the proper exercise of our human freedom aided by grace.

Almost two thousand years ago the ancient Greek writer, Seneca, wrote: “It is not that we have so little time, but that we have wasted so much of it” St. Paul wrote to Greek Christians, centuries later in Ephesus: ” Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men (and women) but as wise making the most of the time.” (Ephesians 5: 15ff).

I invite you in this coming New Year to live as though time really does matter. We are invited by grace to give ourselves away for others; to imitate the One who gave Himself for the entire human race. We are invited to pour ourselves out as Jesus did. If we live life this way, when we face Him on that final day, we will do so with our arms full of gifts borne over time. These gifts will have paved the way for eternity

May you know the fullness of God’s blessings in this New Year of Our Lord,

Fr. Pete