Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword "Time Out"!
Ceaseless activity is one of the more ruthless idols set up by modern society. One of the more frequently offered excuses for not being involved is -‚‚  "I haven't got time". Young people go unheard because older people haven't got time to listen. Taking "time out" is a highly recommended aspect of Christian living so that we get our priorities right. It is important to learn to reflect, to evaluate, to decide!

Jeremiah 23:1-6:‚‚  Jeremiah does not state the reason why the rulers were being denounced, other than that they had neglected their main responsibility. It could well be argued, however, that they had become too busy about other matters‚‚  they considered to be more important - politics, pleasures, the pursuit of power or riches? Whatever! They had defaulted. They had not found time to do their real work

Ephesians 2:13-18: Here we have a summary of Paul's work to unite Jewish and Gentile Christian in one Church. Christ is the unifying power.

Mark 6:30-34: On returning from their first missionary travels, Christ invites the Disciples to take time out to assess their efforts and to plan for the future.

Point 1: The Book of Ecclesiastics advises that "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; [Eccl 3:1] The use of time is an important aspect of the Christian character. Most people, through much of the course of history have had to work pretty much day in and day out to survive. And survival, as it turns out, is a very relative state of mind. We are constantly being made aware of the distinction between "living" and "existing". I often watch old movies and smile at the life style reflected in them. At the time, by and large, they reflected the ultimate in living standards when having an ice chest in the kitchen separated the "haves" from the "have nots". But, thanks to the ingenuity that enables us to use God-given talents, our wants continue to grow to such an extent that in order to satisfy them, double income families have become the order of the day. In order to meet the constant demand for profits by the producers and the demands of consumers, industry is now a round the clock exercise. Efforts by organised labour to reduce the working hours of individuals have not really resulted in people having more time for themselves. So much of the time gained is taken up in overtime, at penalty rates, of course; split shifts, or a second job. Even the hours that are reserved for relaxation - the game of golf, tennis or football match - have become so competitive as to become counter productive. Far from relieving the blood pressure, it only goes higher!

Point 2: The Church, very early, began to struggle against this oppression - as did the Jewish religion before. The Sabbath began as a day of rest during which people, slaves and free alike, could have time for God and to recoup their energies. In the Middle Ages, this practice of Sunday rest was augmented by the introduction of Holy Days, from which our word holiday has derived. This idea of "time out" was designed to give people an opportunity to enrich and to develop the total human personality. And it is still a very necessary need for people.

Conclusion: We must make time, regularly, to take a long hard look at ourselves so as to know our ultimate responsibilities. For this reason, in recent years, as the tempo of life reaches almost frenetic pace, the opportunity for retreats has multiplied dramatically. Constantly, we see the casualties of this "haven't got time" thinking in our society - lonely, isolated souls, unable to keep up with the rush, pushed aside to sink into the backwash as the mainstream of people hurry past. Personal relationship strained to breaking point because the partners have become like ships passing in the night. Families alienated because there is no time to communicate with each other. There are signs of increasing dissatisfaction that all is not well in society, and we hear people expressing the need for "more space"; for more time to reflect, to evaluate, to decide.

Scriptural reference: So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labours as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest. [Heb. 4:9-11]