Today is the first day back to Ordinary time — ordinary, not like ho-hum, but rather “ordinal” or counted time to the next season.
Some Catholics, myself included, find it hard to be in full-blown celebration mode for 7 weeks. It’s time for some sorrowful mysteries, for penance, for the humility that comes with self-examination and somber moments of deep reflection.
Not that we need to forego our sense of Easter joy. We have that every Sunday.
But it’s nice to change things up a bit … a “seasonal change” to embrace.
And, frankly, it’s nice to grab our time cards, punch our spiritual clocks and get back to work.
Our first reading today from Sirach guides us in this direction.
“To the penitent God provides a way back, he encourages those who are losing hope and has chosen for them the lot of truth. Return to him and give up sin, pray to the LORD and make your offenses few.”
First, we work on ourselves. Always.
We can’t go out into the world and evangelize, preach the Good News, without first focusing on our own sinfulness and need for God’s love and forgiveness.
“Dwell no longer in the error of the ungodly, but offer your praise before death. No more can the dead give praise than those who have never lived;”
Time is not to be taken for granted. The Lord could come calling for you today. Don’t wait … get going now.
Jesus had an encounter with a rich man in today’s Gospel … a man who may not have sinned in order to obtain his wealth, but who had made his riches and belongings the most important thing in his life.
Recognizing this, Jesus put him to the test and told him he would have to sell everything and give it to the poor, and then put the word of God as the foremost thing in his life. The rich man went away sad.
Are we to sell everything we have? Well, that depends on how we use our things. Money, possessions, “stuff” are not sinful by themselves, rather, it is the nature of how we treat these things in our own lives that can lead us away from God.
If you are skipping Mass because of work … then you are working too hard.
If you are too busy to pray … then you are too busy.
If you are not recognizing the poor and the needy in your community … then you are not opening your eyes.
If you are not giving alms to those in need … then you are not opening your heart.
And if you are not sharing God’s eternal love … then you are not being.
The message of today’s reading is quite clear. Examine your conscience, take stock of how your time is spent. Where does your heart lie?
Don’t waste another minute chasing after things that mean nothing. Chase after our Lord. He wants you to catch him!
Punch that clock and go … now!