AD SENSE

25th Week, Friday, Sept 25

 Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 / Luke 9:18-22

Ecclesiastes talks about time: Everything happens at the time God chooses. 

 Margaret Mitchell, author of the great novel Gone with the Wind, was struck by a car in Atlanta, Georgia, and died on August 16, 1949. Someone who knew her well reports that while she was delirious, Margaret kept repeating the words, "I'll take care of that tomorrow." The same person said she was a lapsed Catholic who kept putting off her return to the Church, saying, "I'll take care of that tomorrow." Assuming the story is true, it's a good example of what today's reading talks about: "Everything happens at the time God chooses." And there are some things that shouldn't be put off until tomorrow. 

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What are some of the things that we keep putting off until tomorrow? Why do we keep putting them off? "Time is what we want most, but what alas! we use worst." William Penn 

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Today’s readings show a principal difference between Ecclesiastes and Luke. This famous passage describes the great circle of time: "Turn, turn, turn." Everything has its time and season. We experience these times but cannot understand why they happen or if they have any directedness. Their meaning, shape or content seem to forever elude our grasp. All we are able to do is to submit to the brute cycle of life. We cannot pierce through the cycle to discover its meaning. All we can see is the cycle. Human life is only eternal return. This sums up the Book of Ecclesiastes. 

 Time gives us twelve pairs of situations: half of them are positive, pleasant, constructive and the other half negative, unpleasant, destructive. Most people would agree that in real life the percentage of the good is greater. But then Kohelet has always been considered most pessimistic book of the Bible. Speaking of time, we speak of something that  passes. Speaking of time, we remember that we are contingent. Change and decay we see all around. Speaking of time, we acknowledge that we long for  those values that endure. We would like to say to time: stand still; what I experience now is too beautiful that it should not last. It is time that makes us  feel how poor we are before God. It makes us pray: Oh, Thou who changeth  not abide with me. We have no power over time. "He cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end" (verse 11). But man can use time to purchase eternity. There is a time for that too.

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The whole of Luke so far, chapters 3-9, prepared these two questions. Who do the people say that I am? and: Who do you say? Peter alone answers: You are the Christ of God. This was an important point reached. Now revelation goes one step further. The people's idea was wrong, the apostles at least insufficient. The Messiah is the suffering servant of God, as foretold by Isaiah. He is the man of sorrow, the lamb led to the slaughter, who suffers for the sins of all. Jesus now astonishes with the first announcement of the passion. The son of man must suffer grievously. He will not be the glorious messiah of national greatness and welfare. He will be rejected by the elders, the legislative, the high priests, the religious executive and the intelligentsia; interpreters of the word of God. These will put him to death. He will die as the sacrifice for the life of the world. If this was already too difficult to understand; he adds the incomprehensible: "and be raised on the third day.”

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Generally speaking, for something to work out, there must be the combination of the right place, the right persons and the right time. These three factors can be said to be the legs of a three-legged stool, which can stand steady even in a uneven surface. So, when the combination of the right place, the right persons and right time come together, that is what we call the "appointed time", and we also know that it's not through human effort but rather it's the work of the divine.   The 1st reading talks about time and seasons for apparently cyclic human activities which at the same time are also apparently opposite in nature. Yet as much as man may be able to comprehend what is happening at a particular time or season, yet he cannot comprehend the work of God from beginning to end.  And even in the gospel, when Peter said that Jesus is the Christ of God, he may not know the full impact of what he was saying nor for that matter of fact, all its consequences. But in time to come, Peter and the rest of the disciples will come to know what the Christ of God came to do and how He would go about accomplishing it. So, let us also be aware that what we do now is a preparation for the future and has a consequence for the future. Hence if what we do now is done in God, then we are preparing for the God's "appointed time". But if not, then we are only creating obstacles in the fulfilment of God's plan. Let us remember that all time belongs to God, hence let us do what God wants of us ... all the time.

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Let us Pray:  God, in your wisdom you order the course of time and you lead the world and people to their destiny in you. You do all things well. Make us see with eyes of faith the opportunities you give us every moment. Help us to use our time and life and all your good gifts to build up your kingdom stone by stone, until you complete it in your own good time through Jesus Christ our Lord.