Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


Last week I wrote about possible resolutions for the coming year. I left one out. Here it is. I was talking to one of the teens in our parish who told me that life has been so busy over the holidays, that it felt like she missed Christmas. First there was Thanksgiving, then the Christmas songs and trees in the malls, then hopping for gifts and then mailing Christmas cards, then Christmas and then New Year’s Day and then school started again, and life just raced past. And before we know it, Ash Wednesday will be here (Feb 10!).

Life IS racing by. I counted today eight different ways there are for people to contact or communicate with me: (three email accounts, the parish phone, my cell phone, texting, snail mail and just plain talking. Thanks be to God I have not (yet?) signed up for tweeting or Facebook. Things aren’t just moving fast; they are shouting at us along the way. The pace of life, with all its demands, has left just about everybody I know with no time to do much else other than to attend to the present moment. Even retired people tell me that they do not have enough to time do what they want. On top of it all, we are expected to “multi-task” a word that means, “Do more for less pay.” I had a boss once ask me, “Why can’t you do two things at the same time?” And she was serious!

What is the solution? I keep coming back to the quote attributed to Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” If I fail to set aside time to reflect, to meditate, to pray, to be at one with myself and with God, then I fear my life will be carried off to places that I don’t choose or crammed with activity that is just not fulfilling. As the poet Mary Oliver wrote, “When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder if I have made of my life something particular and real. I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened, or full of argument! I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” So here’s my New Year’s resolution. Every day, I will take out one hour to make of my life something particular and real. I will meditate. Or pray. Or go for a walk. Or pray while going for a walk.

I will read that book I’ve been meaning to read, even if it is only a few pages. I will go to the beach and watch the sunset. Whatever. “An hour?!?” you ask me. “Who has that kind of time on their hands?” The answer is: nobody. You will just have to claim it. Because who wants to end up simply having visited this world? (PS. OK. Maybe a half hour.)

Fr. Jim