Homily for January 25

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Homily for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

A few weeks ago Boston was named as the United States candidate
for hosting the summer Olympics in 2,024.
When I read about that I thought,
 “Hmm…  2024.  Wonder if I’ll still be around for that…”
That was the first time such a thought crossed my mind in a real way.
Could be, I won’t be here then…

2024 is only 9 years away but 9 years from now I’ll be 76 years old.
And after checking some charts I found that the life expectancy
of a white American male is 76.2 years, but –
and this is the good news – 
the life expectancy of a white American male
living in Massachusetts 
is 77.5 years!

I certainly hope to live longer that but, as we heard from St. Paul today,
“The time is running out…”

What a precious gift is time.   
But for all of us, all of us, 
time is running out…

What a precious gift is the promise of tomorrow.
But for all of us, the number of our tomorrows dwindles
with each passing day.
I think of Dr. Michael Davidson 
going to work this past Tuesday morning  
at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
We never know how much time we have…

St. Paul certainly means for his words to have 
the sobering effect they do
though when he writes about “time running out”
he’s referring to his expectation that the risen Jesus
would return at any moment, in Paul’s own day.
But that didn’t happen. 
Paul’s time ran out before the Lord’s second coming.

And Jesus has yet to return so time continues to run out,
my time, your time, young and old alike.

We also heard from Paul this morning that:
“the world in its present form is passing away.”
In other words, time is running out for the world, too.
Time is running out on all material things
for all material things will pass away.

You see Paul’s purpose here is to get us to look at
what doesn’t pass away, what endures
in contrast to our letting our lives be shaped and programmed
by what really doesn’t last.

That’s why Paul asked us this morning to look again
at what makes us weep and what makes us happy.
That’s why he asks us not to own or use material things
as if they could fulfill our deepest needs and desires.

My guess is that St. Paul would have a problem
understanding our fascination and concentration
on deflated footballs.

What passing, material things do I desire?  work for?  
collect? save?  hoard?

What transitory things capture my imagination, rule my calendar,
shape my career, inform my thoughts and opinions?
And what’s the importance of all these things
relative to my heart’s deepest and truest longings?

Time is running out, writes St. Paul.
The time we have to get our priorities in order 
- is running out.
The time we have to do the right thing 
- is running out.
The time we have to reconcile with God and one another 
- is running out.
The time we have to grow a real prayer life 
- is running out.
The time we have to be generous with all we have 
- is running out.

Jonah’s message to the city of Nineveh 
was like Paul’s message to the city Corinth.
Jonah preached that time was running out:
40 days, he told the folks, that’s what you’ve got left 
- 40 days and then time’s up!

Jesus’ message in the gospel today is even more immediate
– no warning of how much time is left, but rather:
 “The kingdom of God is now, it is at hand, it is today!”
And, he’s right.
Jesus has not yet come again – but he has already come.
Time for waiting, time for delay has run out: 
the time to act, the time to change, is now, is today.
It’s time, now, to take an accounting of my life
and to act on what I find
and to change what needs to be changed.

The world in its present form is passing away
and if all I end up with is this world’s goods
then I’ll find myself left with very little
and with my hands and my heart empty.

The good news is that in every moment,
without a day’s delay, without a day’s wait,
the Lord is ready to meet me right where I am – now –
and help me make the best of the day I have, the day at hand.
He stands ready to forgive me and heal me,
to reconcile my past, and to be with me today
as I wait to see what tomorrow may bring,
as I wait to see if tomorrow will come...

At this table, the Lord who came 2,000 years ago
but who has not yet returned in glory,
this same Lord will come this morning, 
to be with us, to nourish and strengthen us
in the Bread and Cup of the Eucharist.

At this altar then, let us consider 
what makes us weep,
what makes us rejoice,
in what, in whom, do we place our trust?

Let us come, today, to Jesus.
Let us come back to him, today - 
because time is running out...

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