Homily for August 25, Thursday of the XXI week in Ordinary Time, year I
The other day, I was walking from the parish offices to the rectory. As usual, I was carrying my cell phone and my iPad. Suddenly,my cell phone made a chiming sound, and my iPad gave off an electronic-sounding beep, and then a few seconds later the phone beeped and the iPad chimed – and I realized first that those were messages and alarms reminding me of an appointment I had that day, and second that the computer had set up those alarms on its own, assuming that I would otherwise forget. The computer was probably right.
I also became more aware of just how time oriented our technological culture has become. We are surrounded by clocks and calendars, on our public buildings, our watches, our computers and our cell phones. It is a given today that “time is money”, and the way we use our time is often strongly influenced by the fact that we are either being paid or are paying someone else for most of our activities. Achieving balance between what we are paid and what we pay is generaly a major preoccupation.
A common thread in all of today’s readings is the theme of time, but the focus is not on money. St. Paul is keenly aware of the value of time, praying that God will help him get to see the Thessalonians as soon as possible to finish teaching them the faith. The psalm reflects on the fact that what seems a long time for us is practically nothing for God. We need to learn to appreciate the value of each day we live before God calls us back to Himself. Lastly, the Gospel reminds us that we know not the day or the hour in which God will come to ask us to give an account of our lives and how we have handled the responsibilities that He has given us.
This does is not to say that we should live in constant fear of judgment, nor that we should abandon our worldly occupations to spend all our time in prayer and fasting, unless we receive that special call from God. Rather, we could summarize these messages by altering the popular expression I quoted before, to say, “time is grace”. We should treasure every day and strive to live each moment in God’s presence, loving and serving the Lord and each other, fulfilling our obligations in this world while looking beyond them to what comes after this life. Every day and every hour we have is a gift from God, to be used in a way that pleases Him.
May God “teach us to number our days aright”, and “strengthen [our] hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.”