Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Catholic Defender: Perfect Timing

"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Have you ever considered time? Have you really thought about time? Sometimes it seems that all we have is time, that we have a lot of time on our hands. Then it seems like we never have enough time in a day. Some live only for today while others live in the past. Still, others only dream of the future.

No matter how sophisticated man becomes, time continues to push forward and it seems that we never learn from the mistakes of the past. How soon we forget that we continue to open old wounds. Ecclesiastes asks the question, "What advantage has a worker from his toil"? In our day and time, it seems that more and more people prefer to ride in the cart instead of helping pull it. With the debt the United States owes can we continue to afford the spending without concern of the mounting debt. Can we simply afford to pay for those wanting a free ride? St. Paul says "In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat." (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

How do you spend your time? Are you a workaholic? No time for relationships, your wife, children, family? What about God, do you have time for prayer, to go to Mass? Consider that the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary asks us to pray the Rosary for sinners, do we have time? Do we make time in our busy day?

With all the competition in the world seeking your time, what do you yield your time to? Jesus warns, "Let them (wheat and weeds) grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, 'First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn."

Sloth is one of the "7 Deadly Sins", consider Jesus words, "His master replied, `You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?" (Matthew 25:26)  Also "If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks." (Ecclesiastes 10:18)

It is very important to spend your time wisely. If you are deeply in-debt, it is important to settle with your creditors. To live within your means. As an Army Non-Commissioned Officer, I often dealt with young Soldiers who wanted everything now. They get themselves in debt and get themselves into trouble. Our U.S. Government is not conducting good business because we are wasting so much and not balancing our national budget. As a family, we must live within our means.

Jesus warns, "Amen, I say to you, you will not be released (from purgatory) until you have paid the last penny". Even though this is a spiritual teaching of Jesus, it is true in the real world today. Time is of the essence to balance our affairs and get them in order. Concerning the "Sings of the Times", Jesus warns, "You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Luke 12:56)

Hebrews 13:7-8 says, "Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Consider the Church's "way of life"? What example does the Church hand down from the Apostles to us? First, we are to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus! We are to seek his face and pick up our cross and follow him. It matters not if your a Soldier in the Army, or a clerk working at a bank in Battle Creek Michigan, we are to live out our faith and work to shape our culture.

Jesus warns, "They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation". Jesus is speaking of the Destruction of Jerusalem specifically, but he is also speaking to you and me. We must be spiritually alert to recognize His Visitation in our lives! Do we renew our Baptismal/Confirmation Vows and allow the Holy Spirit to grow within us? Do we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist every opportunity? Do we take time to pray?

Consider the Lord's warning, "The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no root; they last only for a time. Then tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away". (Mark 4:14-17)

What happens if we do not spend our time wisely? What happens to Christians if they choose to participate with sin, pornography? You will fall. Today, Christian youth going to College lose their faith as they expose themselves to sin and vice, false philosophy. We did not use our time wisely by helping others, working for the Kingdom of Heaven because we have been compromised with the way of the world.

The Catholic Church was given the "Ministry of Reconciliation", consider what St. Paul warns, "We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made himself to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Working together, then we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain". We are to continue to grow in our faith, it is a journey, a pilgrimage.

St. Paul continues, "In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you. Behold, now is the very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation". (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

From our Baptism and Confirmation, the day of salvation is at hand, may we truly spend our time wisely much like how an athlete prepares for a race. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Then on that Day, Jesus will say, "Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the home of my Father"! That would be the result of time well spent!

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