This Weekends Reading Liturgical notes

Liturgical Notes

Your Time Is Running Out!
The one thing that we never have enough of is time. God revealed in the Old Testament that “There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under the heavens: a time for giving birth, a time for dying … He has made everything appropriate to its time …” (Eccles 3:1-2, 11) The important question for each of us is, “How am I using my time? What am I using my time for? What will I be able to show for my time when it ends? The fact is that for you and me, indeed for everyone, time is running out. Each day that passes is a day less in this world. Every minute, every hour is a minute less and an hour less than we had a minute or an hour ago. It’s very important that we reflect on how we’re spending our time because we have a tendency to take it for granted and waste it. Most of us live as if we were never going to leave this world. But leave it we will, whether we like it or not. Jesus appeals to our common sense emphasizing the importance of being prepared for death. “Be sure of this: if the owner of the house knew when the thief was coming he would keep a watchful eye and not allow the house to be broken into. You must be prepared in the same way. The Son of Man is coming when you least expect.” (Mt 24:43-44) He warns us, “Keep your eyes open for you know not the day nor the hour.” (Mt 25:13)
When we take time for granted we become complacent and presumptive. We become pleased with ourselves basking in our own achievements without giving a thought to the fact that we’re heading toward an inevitable meeting with Jesus as our Judge. Presumption creates the false notion that death is far off and we don’t need to prepare for it. The value of suffering is that it’s a stark reminder that time is running out and we need to reflect on our end and that face-to-face meeting with God. We prepare by repenting and seeking forgiveness for our sinfulness. In the Old Testament God gave an ultimatum to the Ninevites through Jonah that they had better repent or else be condemned to hell. Jonah didn’t think they would. But when they heard him shout, “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed” (Jon 3:4), they repented and sought forgiveness. They heeded God’s call because they heard that their time was running out. To repent is to have a change of heart which means giving up a sinful way of life and embracing a godly one. This means that, in St. Paul’s words, “You must lay aside your former way of life and the old self which deteriorates through illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new nature created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth.” (Eph 4:22-24)
When we realize our time is running out we become more aware of the need to live wisely. The wisest use of time is to spend it preparing for an eternity that will bring us perfect freedom, love, justice, peace, and happiness. That moves us to pray daily with the Psalmist, “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour.” (Ps 25:4-5) How do we come to know the ways of the Lord? How does He teach us? We come to know and learn God’s ways through Jesus, present in His Church guided by the Holy Spirit. He reveals that, “This is the time of fulfilment. The Kingdom of God is at hand! Reform your lives and believe in the Gospel!” (Mk 1:15)
Jesus’ Church is the visible sign that God’s Kingdom is here. Where Jesus is there is His Kingdom. Since Jesus is in His Church, to belong to her is to belong to His Kingdom. To benefit from God’s Kingdom we must enter it. Jesus made this possible in the Sacrament of Baptism. We benefit from being a member of God’s Kingdom on earth because it prepares us to enter His Heavenly Kingdom. To assist us on the way Jesus has given His Church Sacraments where He can be with us in the critical moments of our life and meet our spiritual needs. In a miraculous way he gives us Himself in the Holy Mass as the food four our soul’s nourishment. Jesus blesses our time through His Church’s liturgical seasons and assists us in spending it in a manner that enables us to meet Him in death as His faithful adopted brother or sister. But to make sure we benefit from what He offer we need to hear St. Paul, as the Ninevites heard Jonah, when He warns us, “I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is short … for the world as we know it is passing away.” (1 Cor 7:29-31) Our time is running out, so let’s use the time we’ve left to repent and believe in the Gospel. (frsos)