The Urgency And Shortness Of Our Time
Readings: (1st: Jon 3, 1-5. 10; Ps 24, 4-9; 2nd: 1Cor 7, 29-31: Gos: Mk 1, 14-20)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this third Sunday of ordinary time, the church reminds us of a certain urgency, the shortness of our time in this world. This is the theme that runs through the three readings of this Sunday. If time is short, so, we must not hold tenaciously to this world that is quickly passing away. Rather, we must believe the good news and live for the kingdom of God.
In the first reading, Jonah lamented and warned the Ninevites: “Only forty days, and Nineveh will be destroyed.” The inhabitants of Nineveh heard the message, believed it, repented and God had mercy on them. Many times, I have wondered if the homilies, sermons and religious teachings we hear almost every day make any impact on our lives.
If they do, why are we still the way we are today? Why is wickedness, corruption, hatred, armed robbery, killing, immorality, and injustice persisting and increasing in our world? Most times, one hears compliments like: “The Pastor or the priest preached well today. Today’s homily was very interesting and powerful!” Also, sometimes during homilies, one hears exclamations like: “Amen! Yes Lord!
Truly, these are not absolutely wrong if they genuinely issue from the heart. However, the question is, does the message actually make any impact on us? Jonah preached just a brief and urgent sermon. Quickly, the people of Nineveh believed in God, repented and fasted with sack cloths. How much longer must we ourselves wait before we till our hearts for the word of God? The good news must be treated as a matter of urgency.
In the second reading, Paul also reminds us that: “Our time is growing short…for the world is passing away!” Paul simply, refers to the notion of sensitivity and urgency that should mark our lives and actions. He draws our attention to the signs of the time. Unfortunately, many of us ignore these signs. Perhaps, because we are economically and materially comfortable. However, the truth is that none is safe! Events in history have proved that we are all vulnerable, safe with God’s grace.
So, we all must be ready because Paul’s warning affects everyone; the married, the single, those mourning, those rejoicing, the rich and the poor, leaders and followers, etcetera. This warning comes at the appropriate time. Through it, Paul calls us to reevaluate our relationship with God and our world. It is a call to accept the good news and to bear witness to it.
In today’s gospel, Christ preached the same urgent message preached by Jonah and John the Baptist: “the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news.” Like the Ninevites, the disciple of Christ, heard this message responded to it with urgency, each being sensitive, and knowing that there was no more time to waste. The Disciples heard the word of the master: “Follow me,” and they simply obeyed, and followed Him.
So, Jesus continues to invite us to participate in his mission: “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” This is a life transforming invitation and mission. Our response to it should be urgent and positive. this is because, it is for our good, and that of others. Fishers of Men simply means partners in the kingdom. They are those who are willing to go extra mile in order to help others. They are those ready to collaborate with Christ in his ministry.
Finally, my brethren, if our time is short, if our world is passing away, if we have only forty days left, and if the kingdom of God is close at hand, why waste the little time we have hating, sinning, and running only after material things? We must use it to seek and worship our God, to live in peace and love with others, to affect others and our society positively. We must use this short time to “seek what is good and pure, what is noble and true” (Phil 4:8).
Peace be with You!