Friday, September 26, 2008
Friday in the 25th Week of Ordinary Time
Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Psalms 144:1b and 2abc, 3-4; Luke 9:18-22
Picture: CC littledan77
Have you ever had the following experience? For some reason you suddenly awaken with a jolt after a good night’s sleep. Still a little drowsy, you reach for the bedside clock and find that you’re already 15 to 30 minutes behind your usual schedule. Hurriedly you scramble out of bed and proceed with the routine morning ablutions. But when you’re done and finally get a chance to look at the clock again, you realize that you’re actually a whole hour ahead of schedule. You’d earlier misread the time. Feeling rather bemused and even a little foolish and embarrassed, you wonder what you’re going to do now.
Ever had a similar experience? Or some other experience of getting the time wrong?
I wonder if the disciples found themselves in a similar situation in our gospel today. The incident described is probably very familiar to us. It is found also in the gospels of Matthew (16:13ff.) and Mark (8:27ff.). But notice how, in Luke’s version, Jesus’ immediate response to the disciples’ declaration that he is the Christ of God is to rebuke them. Unlike Matthew’s version, there is no praise of Peter for getting the answer right. But didn’t they get the answer right? Isn’t Jesus indeed the Christ, the anointed one, of God? Why the rebuke? And why so soon? Perhaps it had something to do with timing. Perhaps the disciples were jumping the gun in thinking only about the glory of the anointed one, without giving due consideration to the lesson that Jesus goes on to teach them – that the Christ must first endure a time of trial.
But, what next? After having gotten the time wrong, what are the disciples to do now? What are we to do when we find ourselves getting the time wrong? How do we learn to get the time right next time?
Some indication of an answer is found in both the first reading and the gospel. In the former, Qoheleth tells us that it is God who has made everything appropriate to its time. And, more importantly, he goes on to say that God has also put the timeless into (our) hearts. In other words, it is possible to get some sense of what the right time – God’s time – may be at any given moment in our lives. And isn’t this what we find Jesus doing at the beginning of the gospel? We’re told that, before summoning his disciples, Jesus was praying in solitude. He was looking into his heart. He was seeking the timeless. He was consulting his Father. He was telling the time.
What time is it for us today?
Posted by Fr Chris at 11:26 pm