By: Rev. Fr. Sylvanus AMEH
Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24, 2; Matthew 20:1-16
- “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born, and a time to die” (Eccl 3:1-2). This text of scripture says to us that God has arranged everything in the world in order. It also tells us that we have limited time to be in this world, that we are finite beings, so, as we are born, so shall we also die. Indeed, this world is the world of the dying, since we draw closer to our graves everyday. Knowing therefore, that we have limited time, sets a challenge before us. This challenge shall be the focus of our reflection this morning.
- Today’s readings speak to us about time and its proper utilization, especially for spiritual benefits. They also draw our minds to the fact that God wishes to confer all spiritual benefits upon us if we properly use our time. So, Reading 1 tells us to seek God while he may be found; in Reading 2, following the example of St. Paul, we must use the time we have in this life to glorify God; and in the Gospel, Jesus tells us that the opportunity for salvation has a time limit.
- Child of God, I like to call to your attention that one of the greatest tricks of the devil, by which he is dragging many souls to hell, is giving the impression that we have time, time to repent, time to be reconciled to God. Many people have tragically lived under the illusion that tomorrow is certain, so they kept postponing the day of repentance, until they were suddenly taken; many people are adjourning the day they intend to go for confession from week to week. Many people believe that because they are still young, they cannot die just yet, so they should enjoy their youthful days. And what do they mean by enjoying? They mean living a life of sin. But hear what the Bible says in Eccl 11:9-10: “Young people, enjoy your youth. Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do and follow your heart’s desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do.” And this is the advice we get in 12:1, “So remember now your God in the days of your youth…”
- Child of God, hear the word of the Lord for you today: You will not always have time! Through the prophet Isaiah, God says “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6). In the gospel text of today’s Mass, Jesus tells us that the vineyard owner kept going out to look for laborers, until the 11th hour, and at the 12th hour, he gave rewards to all. This means that God will not stop searching for us, God will not stop calling us to his vineyard, God will not stop calling us to repentance. But note that it was only those who accepted the landowner’s invitation that got the 12th hour reward. Note also, that the 12th hour is no longer the time for calls, but for rewards. Do you know when your 11th hour will be, which is the last opportunity you may have? Surely, no one knows, therefore, be ready. In Matthew 24:44, Jesus says “You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
- So, now that we have time, what should we be doing? What should we do with the time on our hands? Our readings today give us answers to this all-important question.
- Isaiah says, now that you have time: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
- St. Paul says, now that you have time: Honor Christ in your body, whether by life of by death.
- Jesus says, now that you have time: Serve God diligently, and you will be given your just reward (of eternal life in heaven).
- Dear child of God, heaven is real, and hell is real. Hell is not a place anyone should wish for, however, if we mismanage our time on earth, we shall miss the glory of heaven and end up in hell. It will be a great tragedy that after all the opportunities God gives us to enter heaven, we end up in hell. One day, we shall die, and it will be the time for the reward for our labors. Hebrew 9:27 says “It is appointed unto man to die once, and after that, comes the judgment.” So, what are you doing with your time? How are you using your time to prepare for eternity?
- Now that you have time, repent sincerely of your sins and be reconciled to God.
- Now that you have time, serve God the best way you can with every given opportunity
- Now that you have time, be a laborer for God and win souls for heaven.
- Now that you have time, use your gifts, talents and opportunities to serve God.
- Now that you have time, do not postpone the day of repentance.
- Now that you have time, make yourself available for the Master to call you to his vineyard.
- Now that you have time, use it to secure your eternity.
We have today, but we are not sure of tomorrow, so, pay heed to the words of the Psalmist, “O that today, you will listen to his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:7-8).