September 14, 2013 – Time Keeps Marching On

Wow, what a nice break in the weather!  Now I know that my favorite season of fall is just around the corner.  For me, the third Sunday of September brings more than just a sign of the change in seasons.  In the Catholic Church across our country, the third Sunday of September is Catechetical Sunday.  Those of us who serve as catechists are called to be commissioned for this ministry.  It’s also an opportunity for all of us as Catholics to be reminded that each of us has a role in handing on the faith to the generations to come and to be a witness to the Gospel.  For us as catechists, for parents, students, and all Catholics, the ceremony we will have tomorrow at the 9:00AM Mass is an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to this mission we have been given.  This year’s theme for Catechetical Sunday is “Open the Door of Faith,” which fits in nicely with us being in a Year of Faith.

For myself as a PSR teacher, there is additional meaning to this day.  This day is also when we normally begin our year in PSR.  As we begin again, it is an “I can’t believe” moment for me.  I can’t believe that this is going to be my 14th year doing the 7/8 grade PSR.  I can’t believe this is going to be the 8th time that I will be preparing a class to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  I can’t believe a year has already flown by since we last celebrated Confirmation.  I can’t believe that the summer has already flown by and we are starting a new year of religious education.

It is almost scary to think that the first class of kids I had in 1999 are now probably around 26 or 27 years old.  I’m always stunned when I see kids whom it seemed like I just had in class now driving themselves around town.  So for me, this Sunday is not only a reminder of our mission to pass on our faith, but is also a reminder of the precious little time that we have to accomplish this.  It is a reminder to me of how fast time goes and how we need to make the most of the time we have.

I read a journal article a while back about this very topic – why it seems that time goes so fast and how we can make the most of the time we have.  The author related a story from years ago about a man who called the telephone operator in a small town everyday to see what the correct time was.  Finally one day she asked him why he needed to know this everyday, and he explained that “I need to know the exact time because I have to blow the town whistle precisely at 12:00.  The operator told him “well then, we may have a problem, because I always set my clock by your whistle.”  It is certainly important to know what the exact time is, but I think sometimes we are so obsessed with our schedules and trying to be on time, that we forget the importance of the passage of time in regard to the course of our lives.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who became famous for her work with dying persons, once said, “It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”  I must say that I am guilty as charged in not thinking about our limited time on earth, but in thinking about what must be done at the moment.  I have to go to work.  I have to get this computer work done.  I have to get this blog written.  I fail to think about that those of us who follow God’s plan are destined for eternal life, and so the wisest and most important thing we can do is to invest the minutes, hours, and days of our lives in knowing, loving, and serving God.  It is only in doing this that we will be ready to live with Him forever.

Someone once calculated that if a person lived 75 years, he or she on average would use this much time on these activities: 23 years sleeping, 19 years working, 9 years watching TV, using the computer or some other form of entertainment, 7 ½ years in dressing and personal hygiene, 6 years eating, 5 years standing in line, 4 years doing housework, 1 year searching for misplaced objects, and only six months worshiping and praying.  What should be the most important thing receives the least amount of time.

This is not to say that our other activities do not have a place in our lives.  They are necessary in order to maintain our lifestyle.  However, we can glorify God in doing these other activities.  We can pray as we are standing in line, or as we are looking for our misplaced objects.  Whatever we are doing, we can live in a spirit of being aware that God is always present.  No matter how busy we are, we need to make the effort to step back and look at the big picture.  Time will continue to pass, but eternity will always endure, so we must use the former to prepare ourselves for the latter.  St.  John the Baptist tells us to “prepare the way of the Lord.”   We can do this by making sure we honor Jesus in everything we say and do, no matter how we spend our time.

Have a great week.  Keep rooting for the Cardinals and their charge to first place.  Peace.


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