16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I rarely listen to music these days and I have talked about this song in a homily here before, so I’m hesitant to do it again. But as I think about today’s Gospel it continues to come up, so here we go. Time will tell if it works or not. It is a 2007 country song entitled 5 More Minutes. It never really broke the charts, it was never really extremely popular, yet it continues to have longevity and is still played today. It is one of those mysterious songs that just kind of lingers. In this song, the artist laments that as he is going through life, he wished he had just five more minutes. He starts out as a young boy fishing, wishing he could have just five more minutes before he has to go in for dinner. He moves on to his teenage days with his girlfriend before curfew. He finds himself on the football field having lost the state championship wanting just 5 more minutes as a high school football player. Then, the song concludes with him at his grandfather’s deathbed wishing he had just five more minutes with his grandfather.  

I think all of us have been in that boat. All of us have had times in our life, maybe frequently, when we have said, I could get that one thing done if I just had a little more time in my day. Maybe it some kind of work thing, maybe it is something with our family or extended family, perhaps it even has to do with our relationship with God. I’ve had lots of people tell me, you know if I just had a few more minutes, I could find the answer to that question that is keeping me struggling with faith, or if I had just a few more minutes than I could pray.

Unfortunately, none of us have the power to add 5 more minutes into a day. But the reality is we don’t need to. God has already given us 1,440 minutes in a day. How do you use that time that God has given you?  I remember back when I was in the seminary some of the guys were complaining that the professors were giving too much homework. Of course, graduate school professors don’t care how much homework they give you, it is never enough. Finally, the rector said “if you really believe all this homework and all this studying is getting in the way, you need to track your life for one week.” So, he made us submit a journal, where at the end of the day I would record how I used every second of the day. I was not one of the guys complaining about too much homework so I’m not sure why I was subjected to this torture. As I look back I wish I could tell you, I used allot of time praying, allot of my day studying and doing other important things, but as I look back on it, I was shocked how much time I wasted; how much time I could have used better. At the end of the day, if I scrapped together my time, I easily had an hour that could have been used for prayer or other important things.

In today’s Gospel Jesus invites His disciples to come away and pray with Him. It comes right after last Sunday’s Gospel. If you remember last Sunday, Jesus sent His disciples out two by two. They were supposed to go into the villages to heal the sick and drive out the demons. In today’s Gospel, they come back and tell Jesus about all the great things they have done and what does Jesus say in response? “Come away for a while and rest. He doesn’t say “good job, get back out there and do it again, there is more work to be done.” No, he says “come away and rest.” Even when the crowds are pressing, Jesus goes out to teach, giving His disciples the time, they need.

Has it dawned on you, that Jesus, the son of God who came into the world to save us, only had three years to do. Think about all that He did in those three years; all the miracles he performed, all the teachings that He gave us. He ends up dying, rising from the dead, ascending to the Father, and starting a church, in three years. If you look at the scriptures, you see that time and time again, Jesus takes time away from the business of His mission to go off and be with His Father. If Jesus can find time for His heavenly Father, you and I certainly can find time for our Heavenly Father. If Jesus’s disciples can have that time prioritized for them over all the great works they are doing, you and I can certainly have that time prioritized for us. Many of us wish we had more time in the day, but God is perfect, He gives us all the time that we need, 1,440 minutes each day. How are we using that time? I don’t know about you, but five minutes can change a life.

As you look back on your life, as you look back on your day, where are you spending your time? Is it in those places that are most important; your relationship with God your relationship with your family and things like this? After all, I think today is an invitation for each of us to step back and hear the invitation of Jesus in today’s Gospel, to come and to rest, to make five minutes of our day focused just on Him so that we don’t wake up one day and lament that we wished we had just five more minutes.

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