Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Many here will still remember Sr. Mary Hallahan, the spunky Ursuline Sister who, over the years, served in many parishes across this region before she died at the end of 2012. Sr. Mary had a nickname for me: “the late Fr. Giroux.” It’s not that she heard a rumor of my early demise, nor that she wished me dead. (Heaven forbid!) It’s that she noticed—especially when I’d arrive for daily Mass—that I was frequently coming in at the very last minute, or very often arriving a little bit late.
Guilty as charged!
Now, some people are chronically late because they’re lazy: they simply can’t get out of bed or out of the chair to go and do what needs to be done. Others are late because they’re selfish and rude: assuming that their time and schedule are more important than those of the folks they continually keep waiting. For me, the problem is that I’m always trying to do more than the time at hand will actually allow. We priests are busy—like everybody else these days—so I try to make the most of whatever time I’ve got. But when I try to squeeze too much into those last 15 minutes, I consistently end up behind schedule for the next event.
Being “the late Fr. Giroux” helps me to relate to Elisha in our first reading, and those would-be-disciples mentioned in the gospel I just read. When they hear the call of the Lord, they ask for more time. “Can’t it wait just a minute? Or another day? Or maybe until next year? There’s so much left to do!” It’d be easy enough to think the message God’s giving in the scriptures this Sunday is one about good time management—providing helpful hints for organizing your schedule based on spiritual principles. But God has so much more in mind!
You see, it’s not enough that God and the things of God regularly make it onto your to-do list, nor that God is the most important item on the list, nor even that he’s at the top of your list. What God wants is to write your to-do list. God will never be satisfied with being another part of your life; his place is at the heart of your life, giving direction and purpose to everything else. That’s because what interests God is not so much what we can do or how much we can accomplish, as it is who we are and whose we are—giving ourselves to him 100%.
So don’t merely include Jesus as one more thing on your very busy agenda. Instead, let Jesus set your agenda. And begin doing so now. Given what’s stake, this is something for which we most certainly don’t want to be even just a little bit late.