Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
They say that time is relative. This might be true. However, this last Christmas season threw my natural rhythms right out the window (I hope you appreciated the alliteration). Normally, you would have a few days after the Fourth Sunday in Advent until Christmas would be upon you. However, this year the Fourth Sunday was followed immediately by Christmas. For those concerned with Sunday obligation, a few phone calls reflected the confusion about how one fulfills Sunday obligation and Christmas. “Now Father, if I go to Mass on Sunday evening, does that satisfy both the Fourth Sunday and Christmas?” In other words, do I get a “twofer” (two for one)? This thinking generates the worst of the Pharisaical mentality, fulfilling the law rather than celebrating the spirit the law is intended to represent. Besides, no one ever died from going to Church two days in a row.
This must have also been difficult for those who do last minute Christmas shopping. There is a certain feeling of confidence that the mature shopper has in managing their time. They always give themselves that day or two window of opportunity in order to complete those last-minute gifts. This year, that window was closed.
I usually have time set aside to visit friends and family. I have sent out my cards, but it’s important for me to stop in the area and say even the briefest Merry Christmas to those who have been an important part of my life. As I get older, I realize that the ability to say how important friends are grows less and less with the passing of time.
Oh, I am confident that eternal life will offer us ample time to examine our love through the lens of a loving God. But, we are given the time now, and must use it judiciously. Those personal visits are as much for my welfare as they are for family and friends.
I also think that if we did a time management study, we might be surprised to find out that we have shortchanged our God. We would like to believe that we pray enough, but is our presence before God always “just” enough?
Now that the Christmas season is over, we may still feel stretched and understand our time is short, but as believers, we can make it last an eternity if only we LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the January 9, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.