What Time is It? A Christian Perspective on Time As We End the Church Year
The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will do so
Human beings have always marked time.The real question is not whether we will mark time, but how we will do so. What events and what messages are we proclaiming in the calendaring of time? For the Christian, time is not a tyrant ruling over us. Rather, it is a teacher, instructing and presenting us with opportunity. Rather than a foe, it is a friend. Its role and reach is a part of the redemptive loving plan of God. In the Incarnation, the eternal Word became flesh; breaking into time to transform it from within. He now gives us time as a gift, a field of choice wherein we can grow in holiness and freedom
We are to live as though time really does matter
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - As we approach the end of the Liturgical year our readings for Mass point us to the culmination of our experience of time and the beginning of eternity. With vivid language we hear of the "parousia", the Second Coming of the Lord. Sadly, a virtual cottage industry has grown up around a misguided attempt to "read the signs of the times", complete with timelines and false predictions. Many of these efforts generate fear, rather than inviting the living faith which is the key to making ourselves ready for the great event.
Christians have always believed in, and anticipated, the Second Coming of the Lord. It is the focal point of our life and worldview. The early Christians used an Aramaic word to express the hope it generated "Maranatha", loosely translated "Come Lord Jesus". The words written by the beloved Disciple John in the Revelation given to him on that island of Patmos, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20) - reflect an early liturgical phrase and reveal a lifestyle of living ready.
This event, the Second Coming, is our "True North." Jesus will come to close the current period of human history and establish the Kingdom. During these last weeks of the Church year which lead us to the marvelous Feast of Christ the King of the Universe, we are invited to reflect on how we are living the fullness of the Gospel and whether we are making ourselves - indeed the entire human race and created order - more ready for His Return.
Sadly, for many, the mere thought of the "end" of this world as we know it causes fear. Not unlike the fear of death which so mercilessly grips those who have not experienced being set free by Jesus Christ. In the words of the ancient troparion of the Easter Liturgy, "Christ has Risen from the Dead Trampling on death by death." Christians need not fear death, it is for us a change of habitation and a portal to eternal life. That ancient Troparion continues to expound on the wonderful effects of the work of Jesus Christ for us, "and on those in the tombs, lavishing life."
The author of the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament of the Bible further explains why jesus died in these words "Through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage". So, for Christians, these days, the end of the liturgical year,can be an invitation to reflect on time. To ask ourselves questions such as "What Time Is it?" and "What are we doing with the time we have left?"
The Church year is a treasure to be opened as we age.Like so much in our Catholic faith and practice we get out of it what we put into it. We mark time as a Church by the great events of salvation history. One reason is so that we can enter more fully into their deeper meaning as we age and they can enter more fully into us, changing us and effecting our conversion. So, I offer some reflections on time to give us a perspective on time as we approach the Feast of Christ the King.
Human beings 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 in the calendaring of time? For the Christian, time is not a tyrant ruling over us. Rather, it is a teacher, instructing and presenting us with opportunity. Rather than a foe, it is a friend. Its role and reach is a part of the redemptive loving plan of God. In the Incarnation, the eternal Word became flesh; breaking into time to transform it from within.
He now gives us time as a gift, having removed the curse by defeating death. Time becomes a field of choice wherein we can grow in holiness and freedom. We participate in God's plan to recreate the entire cosmos in and through Jesus Christ. Time is the road along which this loving plan of redemption proceeds. We who have been baptized into Christ participate in this plan by living in the Church, the seed of the eternal kingdom.
Christians believe in a linear timeline in history. There is a beginning and an end, a fulfillment, which is a new beginning. Time is heading somewhere. That is as true of the history of the world as it is our own personal histories. Christians mark time by the great events of the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are moving toward His loving return. We mark our Christian culture with events of importance from the ongoing "family", history of the Church.
The members of that family were birthed from the wounded side of the Savior on the Cross-at Calvary's hill. That family was sent on mission when He breathed His Spirit into them at Pentecost. We remember them, ...
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