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Protecting Children and the Vulnerable

Time

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

I am fascinated by the perception of time. Time seems to move fast or slow, depending on our experience. Earlier this week someone expressed surprise that next Sunday is Palm Sunday already. How can that be? Where has Lent gone? Lent is a common example of time passing quickly or slowly. At Ash Wednesday Lent seems a long time ahead of us. But often Holy Week approaches with a certain suddenness, especially if we feel we didn’t do enough “for Lent.”

Time really doesn’t exist. There is no “thing” called “time” floating around in the air. By custom, we have decided to measure our human journey with clocks and calendars.

Looking backward, time may have seemed to pass quickly. But it is remarkable how long a minute can seem, for example, as I am standing at the back of church, waiting to walk in for Mass.

Teachers of prayer and meditation invite us to focus on the present moment because that’s all we have. Of course, the present moment is hard to nail down because it keeps changing! The danger is, if we look too much to the past, it can trigger unnecessary guilt or regret. If we look to the future, we can worry about things that may never happen.

We live in time. We walk through time. But in any present moment is where we are to pay attention to our own thoughts and feelings and to the presence of God.

Seeing Jesus

By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Cap.

In the Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Lent, some visitors approach the disciples and ask to see Jesus.  When they tell Jesus this, he does not seem to respond directly, but starts talking about his “hour” and the things he will have to do. He also uses the important image of the seed falling to the ground to die in order for new life to come forth.

He is talking about himself and what will happen to him. But maybe that is how we are to “see Jesus.”  We see him in doing what he has to do.  We watch him as he faces his accusers and accepts their verdict.

We all would like to “see Jesus.” And that is a part of our spiritual experience — not to see him as a man standing in front of us, but to see him in his works and see him in the people around us.

We are to see him also in the “hours” that we face: those things that happen to us, often unexpected, in which we are something like the seed falling to earth and then bringing forth new life.  We die and rise many times in a symbolic way before our final departure from this life.

“We want to see Jesus.” Yes, we do.  We keep watching, searching, allowing ourselves to see him especially in the persons around us.  We see him in the events of our lives, perhaps when we would least expect to find him.

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