A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘time

So many things are designed for our convenience:

  • self-cleaning ovens, which I can appreciate, since I didn’t enjoy crawling halfway into an oven to clean it
  • self-defrosting freezers, which I also like, since defrosting the freezer section of a fridge with the help of a hair dryer was less than fun
  • no-iron shirts, which I like because I find ironing a shirt well is a challenge
  • pre-cooked bacon, which I think takes convenience a bit too far

Our appreciation for convenience spills over into our faith lives as well. Think rosary apps and electronic versions of the Bible that let us turn commuting time into time spent with God. Or diocesan websites that help us find a time to receive the sacrament of reconciliation or a Sunday Mass to attend when we’re away from home. Or even pre-authorized giving, which means we don’t need to write a cheque or find cash for our Sunday offering envelope and we can better plan our giving.

Sometimes, though, our love of convenience can be less than a blessing to others.

Often it’s the same people who serve in multiple roles in a parish or a community organization, or who consistently volunteer at their children’s school in the classroom or on field trips, or who frequently coach or carpool for their children’s hockey or soccer or ringette team. Maybe they see a need and feel called to fill it; maybe others are reluctant to give up their time to help.

People rush to avoid holding open doors for others, refuse to let other drivers merge into traffic, or leave their shopping carts in the parking lot instead of in the cart return. Maybe they don’t want to take the time to be considerate.

People complain about the arrival of refugees or economic migrants when there are already people in need, but they lament the problem rather than contribute to the solution. Maybe it would take some time to sort through closets for items to give to clothing drives, donate a few items to the food bank bin at the grocery store, or urge politicians via e-mail or snail mail to address social justice concerns.

We need to be careful how we divide up our time so we don’t neglect our work and family responsibilities or our need to relax and recharge our batteries. We want to use our gifts well and not keep others from using theirs. But we need to recognize when we’re refusing to serve in some way—even a very small way—simply because it’s inconvenient.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Do not say to your neighbour, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.

~Proverbs 3:27-28*

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

Then [Jesus] said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

~Matthew 22:21*

At yesterday’s Mass, the Gospel reading dealt with the question about paying taxes that the Pharisees posed to Jesus—after they tried to trick him with flattery by saying that they knew he was impartial and taught God’s way truthfully (see Matthew 22:15-17).

As our parish priest pointed out, more than money is at issue. We need to contribute to the society we live in by paying taxes, but we also need to build up the Church through our offering. Not only by placing money in the collection plate, but also by offering our time and talents.

When we take part in the Mass, we spend time in worship, praise and prayer. We give of our time to God.

As the priest also pointed out, many people are involved as the service unfolds, from the priest and deacon to the sacristan, altar servers, worship music team, lector, gift bearers, people who take up the offering, and so on. When they serve during the Mass, they give of their time and talents to God.

We could step forward and share our talents (and maybe discover new ones) by signing up at our parish’s ministry fair or by contacting the leaders of ministries listed in the bulletin or on the parish website. Volunteers in children’s and youth ministry, social justice groups, pastoral care and more are vital—and, it seems, often in short supply.

And for parishes with Confirmation candidates, including a service component and encouraging candidates to find opportunities to fulfill it within the parish, as some parishes do, would be a wonderful way to teach them about giving to God.

I pray that we would consider ways to use our time and talents to give to God what is his and encourage our families, newcomers, and those whose gifts we’ve noticed to do the same.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.

~ 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

(*Scripture quotes and reference taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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