Wednesday, April 15, 2009


To move out of our bubble and find what other people around the world are learning can be quite fun and challenging. Despite what your child’s elementary science book might tell you, there is not universal agreement on how many continents there are or how many oceans there are. (So how exactly do you know where one ocean starts and the other begins? How can Europe be its own continent?) Other thoughts are not so shocking. We understand better that not everyone is in agreement as to the measurement of things (that is why we need two sets of tools) nor what year it is. And some places drive on the wrong side of the road.

Other things seem rather universal. Math is math. Smiles are smiles. Green is ground the world around (I wonder of that is true.)

Time us is tricky. It only really works on earth. What is a 24 hour day to Mercury or any other planet? Science has noticed variances in time between high and low altitudes. And when you think of time warping or holes in time, you might be thinking Star Trek or advanced experimental science. But Catholics and our ancestors in faith the Jewish people have been observing, believing, and practicing alternative time for thousands of years. Like being citizens of heaven but living as citizens of the United States we can be in a pew and look at our watch and understand that the world recognizes it is 10:45AM on Sunday, April 19, 2005 but we are experiencing being connected to a world of perhaps 2,000 plus years ago.

The most obvious place for us is at the Mass. When we celebrate the Eucharist we are not reproducing Christ’s sacrifice, He is not being sacrificed again, a symbolic play is not being produced. It is as if a curtain in time has opened up and we are present at Christ’s original sacrifice. That is why it is always Christ Who ultimate performs every sacrament, why it is Jesus Who is our only true high priest all other priests merely participating in His priesthood, that is why it is said that the Mass is as close to heaven as we can come on earth. At that moment we are above conventional time as God is out of or above time and why Jesus can be present to us at any place and at any time.

Have you ever wondered why the resurrected Jesus did not want Mary Magdalene to cling to Him? It was because she was clinging to the Jesus of the past, concretized in history in both time and location. But He was passing beyond this, beyond the time and place of this world where He would be available to all people, all places, all times. He was going to His Father where the only time is the eternal Now. We come in contact with that in the sacraments.

Times of year and season also transport us though not quite so dramatically. We sense that there are certain times of year when we are closer to events of our history and salvation than others. At Christmas we feel closer to the Child Jesus while this past Lent we grew through the uniting of ourselves to His Passion. During the Triduum in particular even our concept of the beginning and ending of days runs differently than that of our insurance companies that would say that your coverage would be cancelled at midnight of such a date (which would mark the end of the day) if you do not pay your premium. This is why we had to wait for sun down (9:15 in these parts!) before celebrating the Easter Vigil.

Right now at this very moment we are in Easter Week. It is an octave of days celebrating the Resurrection of Our Lord. It is not simply to be celebrated in our churches but within and around you also. It may also be the day after tax day but it is also a resurrection day in a particular way more than any another Thursday of the year. Find a way to plug into that. Say a prayer, think of Christ resurrected, stop by a Church, wish someone a Happy Easter, celebrate, rejoice, and be glad. The time of your salvation is at hand!


frival said...

Excellent post, Father. I love contemplating the concept of eternity and how God exists outside of time - it's the only way to make sense of the many ways in which He acts that don't seem to make sense to us.

Anonymous said...

Ah, you answered the question my father and I were pondering. I was telling him about the beautiful Easter Vigil Mass at St Sebastian and asked if he knew the significance of the start time. Now I can share the answer with him. Thanks!

ck said...

A friend turned me on to quantum physics and I have found the study to be so spiritually gratifying. Our greatest scientific minds are theorizing that if we could bend space-time, introduce a black hole, and somehow widen its singularity, we would have a means to travel through time. It is thrilling to believe that at every Mass, time and space part, and God is made present. A scientist with faith should be swooning in the aisles. It saddens me that my friend misses out on the joy and gratitude that comes from knowing that the beauty and order of the universe and the enigmas of time-space are elaborate gifts from a God who loves us.