16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

     I rarely listen to music, but every year a few songs catch my attention and stick with me for a while. One of those songs, is Scotty McCreery’s 2017 hit, Five More Minutes. While his song never broke the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, there was something about his song, that struck the hearts of country music fans keeping it around on country radio a year later.

     In this song Scotty recounts the infinite value of 5 more minutes. He starts at age 8 fishing and wanting 5 more minutes before being called for dinner, moves on to his teenage years wanting 5 more minutes before he has to let his girlfriend go home. Moving through high school he begs for 5 more minutes at center field after losing the state football championship. Finally he finds himself at his grandfather’s deathbed begging for 5 more minutes. Between each of these experiences he laments that “time rolls by the clock don’t stop, I wish I had a few more drops of the good stuff, the good times, oh but they just keep on flying, right on by me, like it aint nothing. Wish I had me a pause button. Moments like those Lord knows I’d hit it. Yeah sometimes this old life will leave you wishing that you had five more minutes.”[1]

     Friends, I think if we are honest with ourselves all of us will admit that at times it can be so easy for us to get caught up in the day to day life that we take the most important things for granted in our life. Life certainly moves very quickly and if we don’t take that time out for just 5 more minutes we can wake up and miss so much. Unfortunately we can’t add 5 more minutes to our day, but we can certainly reorder how we use the 1,440 minutes God gives us each day and that starts by taking some time to reflect on how we actually use those valuable minutes.

     As you think about how you use those 1,440 minutes I hope you find that you use spend enough time with those who are closest to you. But what about your relationship with God. How much time a day do you spend with Him?

     Sadly, I meet many people who really do want to live a life of faith, but don’t because life gets away from them. They would happily take 5 more minutes for God, but they don’t find those 5 minutes in the midst of the 1,440 minutes God already gives them. In today’s busy world there can be a tendency for those of us who want to live out our faith to fall into the trap of seeing it as being just one more thing on our to do list. But our faith isn’t just one more thing on our to do list. No, it is the lens, the reason for which we do everything on our list. We can never forget that we are not called to do Catholicism, we are called to be Catholic.

     In today’s gospel Jesus calls each of us to come away by ourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.[2] Can you find just 5 minutes in your day to step aside from the business of life to recollect yourself and strengthen your relationship with Christ. Why not take just 5 of those 1,440 minutes every night before you go to bed to sit down and prayerfully think back on your day. Begin by looking at all the blessings you have received in the previous 1,435 minutes and thank God for them. Then, think back and notice all the times you have fallen short of loving God and your neighbor as you should and ask God for forgiveness.

     Look, Jesus came to save the world and only had 3 years to do all of His teaching, preaching, healing etc. and He still took time from His busy life to spend with His Father. Jesus was preparing His disciples to go out to the whole world and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and He commanded them to take some time away. If Jesus and His apostles could find time to take time away so can we. Why not begin that practice of taking 5 minutes every night to review our day with God and why not see if you can find just a couple of days a year to really break away and go on a retreat to be refreshed with the Lord.

     I don’t know about you, but when I look at my life I certainly wish I too could have just five more minutes. While we can’t add 5 more minutes to our day, we can take 5 minutes every day to step back and allow God to help us organize our lives around what is most, so that we don’t wake up one day and lament with Scotty McCreery that we need 5 more minutes.

[1] Scotty McCreery, Five More Minutes. Lyrics at https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/34080757/Scotty+McCreery/Five+More+Minutes

[2] Mark 6: 31

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