In the first reading Qoheleth reminds us that there is a proper time for everything. It’s important for us to discern the time we are living in so that we know how we should act. It’s pointless to plant seeds when they have no access to water. We’re out of step if we mourn at a wedding or rearrange the furniture just before we move.
Some times are harder to figure out. Halfway through a long explanation, we may suddenly notice that others have stopped listening and are impatient to chime in. We belatedly realize it should have been our time for silence.
Our Lord invites the Apostles to reflect on the time in which they were living, and the One they were living with. In response to his question, they affirmed him as the long-awaited Messiah. The Eternal had broken into their world, and nothing would ever be the same again.
And yet the disciples might easily have come to the wrong conclusion. Many of them would have loved to be living in the time of God’s triumph and victory. But they had to come to grips with the fact that Our Lord’s road to glory needed to pass through Calvary. For them and for their Messiah, it was a time of suffering.
It was also a time for choice. What did they believe about Jesus? Were they willing to follow their Master all the way to the Cross, even if it meant setting aside not only their personal ambitions but their cherished notions of the way things ought to be?
We often feel upset when there is a difference between our expectations and what is actually happening around us. At times like these, it’s especially important to get to our knees and pray. When we get a clearer focus on the time in which we are living, we can learn how to respond appropriately. Our Lord will always help us keep eternity in view.