3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B: His Time becomes Our Time and His Story becomes Our Story

Today’s reading point us to consider God’s call and the necessary immediacy of our response. They begin with the journey of Jonah through Nineveh.  According to the reading, Nineveh was a very large city.  But the Ninevites didn’t need to hear Jonah’s prophecy for three days.  After a single days walk they repented.  In the Gospel, Jesus call Simon and Andrew, and then James and John, and they leave their boats and follow Him immediately. 

In Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians he tells the early Christians to look at their marriage, their joyful and sad moments in life, and their dealings and interactions with the world from the viewpoint of eternity, because this world will eventually pass away.

It is very clear that we must make the best use of the time that the Lord gives us.  This is a stunning contrast to the attitude of so many, who do not pray or think reception of the Sacraments are unnecessary.  We need daily prayer and the reception of the Sacraments to keep ourselves filled with grace and to continue growing in our desire to do all things in a Christ-like way.  We have to make the best use of our time.  Our time is not our own.  It belongs to God. 

At the beginning of the Book of Genesis, we hear that all creation was entrusted to mankind.  When we think of creation, we focus on the concrete aspects of creation, those things which we can see such as the lakes and oceans, the mountains and hills, and we focus on the plants and animals God has given us to care for, and we focus on human beings and how we can care for others through the proper use of God’s gifts of creation.   There is another aspect of creation we often miss.  That is time.  Time is also part of creation.  Time only exists in our physical world.  It is entrusted to us to be used wisely.

We have to set aside time for many different activities – for sleeping, for working, for exercising and, especially, for praying.  In fact, we should all have a schedule for prayer in our daily lives, a schedule that we keep.  It is important also that we set aside time for relaxing.  Some of us live in a state of continual stress.  We need to fight off stress usually through physical activity.  Either we take care of stress or stress takes care of us – and usually everyone else around us.  We have to set aside time for others, sometimes that means caring for others, but usually we simply need to be with others.  

Sadly, we often waste time.  We get tied up in going from one You-Tube video to another, or from one TV program to another.   After a while, we look at our watches and ask, “Where did the time go?”  My great fear is that God looks at me and says, “Is that the best you can do with your day?”  We have a responsibility to use whatever time we have left well. 

Many older people often ask, “Why am I still here?”  The answer is that God has more work for us to do, more ways to use the time he gave us.  A person I know was dying of cancer.  He wanted the suffering to end.  But he knew that God still had a bit more work for him to do here on earth, even if that work was simply to offer up his suffering for his soul and the souls of others for another week or so.

Most of us do not know when our days on earth are coming to an end.  We can live another 50 years, or just another 50 days. That is why we have to live our lives in a way that we are always ready to give an account for how well we use the time the Lord has given us.

How often have others asked us a serious question at and inconvenient time?  Children and Teens seem to be excellent at finding the worst times to ask a question or make a statement that needs an immediate response.  Just as Mom is parking at the supermarket, her 9 year old says, “Billy’s parents are separating.  Are you and Dad going to do that too?”  Mom might want to put off the answer and the discussion but then the right time to respond never comes.  

The earth is the Lord’s and its fullness thereof, we pray in Psalm 24.  This world belongs to God.  He has set us in this world to do his work, but He only gives us a brief time to accomplish His tasks. We pray today that we make the best use of the time that He gives us.

Fr. Tom