September 25, 2020 (Friday of week 25 Year II)
Time and Seasons
Dear friends in Christ, many people talk about time in terms of something that is passing. We measure from millisecond to second, minute, hour, day, month and year etc. Within the year, there are seasons, often dictating when we cultivate, harvest, appropriate fashion and the like. But time is also sometimes measured by events and happenings. Time is money!
In our first reading today (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11), Qoheleth deals with the issue of time, as it relates to events and happenings. He gives us twelve pairs, half of them pleasant and positive and the other half, negative and unpleasant. Approaching time this way, clearly reminds us, that time is fleeting and our stay on earth is temporary. Qoheleth tells us, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die." The very first pair concerns human existence. We witness the miracle of new birth and rejoice, but no matter how long we live, we must someday be committed back to mother earth. Regular visits to the cemetery teaches a lesson: the poor and the rich are destined to the same end. Whether buried in a casket of gold or laid on bare ground; whether in a marble tomb or an unmarked tomb; the grave must have its own. Every pair calls for deep reflection: "to plant...to pluck up; to kill...to heal; break down...build up; to weep...to laugh; to mourn...to dance; to cast away...to gather; to embrace...to refrain; to seek...to lose; to keep silence...to speak; to love...to hate; for war...for peace." Qoheleth sees time as God given, and God only as the master of time. "He made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man's mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end." He then questions again, “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Jesus will ask, “What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?” Absolutely nothing.
In today's Gospel (Luke 9:18-22), the evangelist tells us that not long after Herod was perplexed about the person of Jesus, the Lord himself asked his disciples "Who do the people say that I am?" Unfortunately, the answers from the disciples were the same heard in Herod's court, "John the Baptist; Elijah or one of the old prophets." This must have prompted Jesus to inquire from his own disciples if they have a different perception, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter got it right, "The Christ of God." But Peter and others must still learn further that the Christ of God, is also the suffering servant. Jesus then immediately began to talk about his suffering, death and resurrection. There's definitely time for everything under the heavens. This is the time for you, to examine yourself and ask, 'who is Jesus for me?' You do not know how many years or seasons you have left, as God controls it all. What are you doing at this time, with what God has given to you? Do not see those who have died as unfortunate. Think of the brevity of life and ask yourself, 'why has God placed me here? What is the purpose of my life? What more is the Lord asking me to do?
Let us pray: Lord, teach me to understand how fleeting life is. Help me to use judiciously the time you have allotted me. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.