All time belongs to Him Print
Bishop Morlino's Column
Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014 -- 12:00 AM
This column is the bishop’s communication with the faithful of the Diocese of Madison. Any wider circulation reaches beyond the intention of the bishop.

Dear Friends,

It is always strange to prepare a column for this issue of the Catholic Herald.

As I write, it is Monday and we’ve just entered into Holy Week. When this issue arrives at your homes, it will most likely be Holy Thursday, and yet this will also serve as the “Easter issue.”

We’ve just experienced Palm Sunday, when we rejoiced and sang “Hosanna!” as Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.

So should I reflect upon those moments of worldly glory? Should I rejoice with all the gusto of Easter, knowing that you may read this in the glow of those days? Or, should I consider the darkness of Christ’s passion and death, bearing in mind that you may read this column on Holy Thursday or Good Friday?

Of course it wouldn’t be the end of the world to do any of this, and the point is not really the tension of writing this column.

We live in a world of tension

I reflect upon it though, because it’s actually the tension in which we live day-in and day-out.

For us, Christ’s life, His passion, His death, and His raising to new life all are present at once.

We continue to experience the crosses of our own life: we continue to experience the results of Original Sin and our own sins, and we continue to experience suffering and death -- even as we rejoice at knowing that Jesus Christ conquered sin and suffering and death.

It is that constant tension of Christ’s victory being “already accomplished,” but “not yet.”

We are called to reflect on this reality day-in and day-out, but we do so especially on Sundays each week, and we do so at no other time like we do at the Easter Vigil.

Christ gains victory by transforming time

Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil, is all about how the risen Christ has gained the victory, has won the victory and has transformed us, by transforming time -- yes, time.

Time is like the air we breathe. We take it for granted.

But what would happen if there were “no time”? And Holy Saturday is the day that challenges us to ask ourselves, what do I have time for and what do I not have time for? In the midst of my daily use of time, do I recall that each moment belongs to Him who has transformed all time?

What is said right at the beginning of the Holy Saturday liturgy? The priest begins the liturgy by lighting the new fire of Easter, inscribing the Easter Candle and saying, “Christ yesterday and today, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. To Him belong all the seasons and all the ages. To Him belongs all glory, forever and ever, Amen!”

That’s all about time. Yesterday, today, beginning and end, alpha and omega. “To Him belong all the seasons.” All time now belongs to Jesus Christ, and indeed due to Christ’s Resurrection, what we call “ordinary time” has ended.

The world as experienced by all women and men since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden has changed. (That’s why liturgically why we shouldn’t call Sundays, “Sunday in Ordinary Time.” The Resurrection put an end to Ordinary Time, and thus our celebration of the Resurrection on Sundays should not be considered “Ordinary Time.” I hope someday we will fix that.)

Time is not ordinary

Time is not ordinary. Jesus Christ rose from the dead to redeem time and to make it His own. “To Him belong all the seasons and all the ages.”

Thus, in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all time belongs to Him and not to me! What time I have been given is in reality His, and it should be treated with gratitude and used with the knowledge that it is all His. That time, which is like the air we breathe, is His. Our being, which is in time, is filled with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. It’s as close all the time as the air we breathe. And it’s all His.

But do we treat all time as if it is His?

When I look into my appointment book, I have to ask myself, do I believe in the Resurrection? Do I believe that all time belongs to Him? Especially when I have free time?

I am certainly not perfect in this -- nowhere close -- and as we look around we realize the rest of the world is not either.

If we lived as if all time belonged to Jesus Christ, the world would certainly look different. Imagine if we offered time to one another, to service and to love of one another, as if all time belonged to Jesus Christ. And yet most of the world lives as if all time belongs to them.

All time belongs to Him

How did it ever get to the point where three quarters of people who call themselves Catholic don’t go to Mass on the weekend? How did that ever get to be?

All time belongs to Him! Three quarters of Catholics say, “It belongs to me! And I will plan every weekend around my golf game . . . I will plan every weekend around the time of the Packers’ game . . . I will plan every weekend around the kids’ sports leagues!”

We are now teaching the little children that Sundays are for sports. It’s ok to have leisure on Sundays -- it’s important -- but leisure has become its own god. And due to all of our commitments, Sunday has become more hectic than leisurely.

The choice is now out there, you can either go to Mass or you can go to baseball, you can go to soccer, you can go to practice . . . It’s not simply that we’ve forgotten that all time belongs to Jesus Christ, we’ve forgotten that any time does! And when people do that, they are saying, “Boloney to the Resurrection! Time is not His, it’s ours!”

All time belongs to Him, and if I live as though it does not, I do not really “get” the Resurrection. And St. Paul says if I don’t get the Resurrection, my faith is in vain.

Take time for sacred liturgies

But it doesn’t have to be as drastic as never going to Mass.

For all of us, there is the temptation to forget that all time belongs to Him. So, this Easter Season I challenge you to reflect upon just how much you live as if all time belongs to Jesus Christ.

If you are reading this before the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday), I challenge you to take part in those sacred liturgies and to invite others to sacrifice time to do so too -- for is it really a sacrifice anyway?

All the time we now have belongs to Jesus Christ -- to Him belongs all Glory forever and ever! Let us rejoice in the reality that He now invites us to live and to thrive in this time, which has been conquered by Him!

I send to you and your loved ones my hopes for a joy-filled time this Easter Season. Thank you for reading this. God bless each one of you. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Alleluia!