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Redeeming the Time.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!

We hear his words regarding time: "Make the most of the present opportunity, for these are evil days." Briefly, St. Paul points out that the days are evil and life is short. We must meditate over this truth with our whole hearts, remembering just how precious is that time which has been allotted to us. Some consider that such meditations on the passing of time will lead to depression, sadness or gloomy thoughts. But just the opposite is true. Every passing minute brings us close to eternity, each minute asks of us, "what have you done with this time?"

Never forget that we are guests in this world. Guests for a short, a very brief interval. We arrive from a mystery and leave into mystery. But the Lord has revealed to us that our brief lives carry significant meaning in that they prepare us for eternity. It is here on earth that everything divine within us, our soul, personality and conscience, grow and develop.

And how frightful it is for that man who squanders his time, who wastes it on endless trifles, upon insignificant and worthless matters. It can turn out that one has spent his entire life on trivial pursuits, on empty and pointless chatter, upon petty matters that don't even merit thought.

It's impossible to turn back the clock even for just one second, and therefore the apostle implores us, "Be wary of your time, don't waste it on vain pursuits, don't spend it on idle words and frivolous matters. Remember that every minute is precious. Any given hour might cost a person his eternal life." Meditating upon this, we begin to view life in a different light. We begin to approach our duty, our work and everything around us in a distinctive manner. We start to treat life carefully, knowing that perhaps today or tomorrow we may be called to give an account. Consider at this very moment we could all perish. Half of us are already leaning toward old age, beset with all types of ailments. The rest might just as easily die in the blink of an eye.

Let me repeat myself. These thoughts are no cause for depression. Life becomes immeasurably more wonderful when one is aware of its responsibilities. Life becomes a challenge when we know that we shall appear with what we were able to accomplish in this life. This meditation should serve to strengthen and inspire us, and not allow us to fall into depression, idleness, aimlessness or pettiness. This is why in antiquity there was a custom to keep a human skull in one's home. It would serve as a reminder of death. There was usually an inscription added to the skull, "Memento mori" (Remember death). Remember, so that one might live properly, to live with a purpose, with awareness, with love and with labor, knowing that life is granted for only a short time.

How many stones are merely lying about?! Millions, billions and we trod over them in passing, not even noticing. Yet gold is found in tiny nuggets, and one gram is worth a large sum because it is so rare. So it is with time. It's as rare and precious as gold. Therefore, we must always remember to treat time with reverence. If you are working-then work; if you are praying-then pray; if you are relaxing-then relax. But don't spend your time in a pointless and foolish manner. There is an awful phrase, "to kill time." Awful, but true. Time is our very life and if we kill it, if we deliberately waste time, then we end up killing our own life. Examine yourself, think about this and endeavor not to waste your time in vain, pointless or unfruitful efforts.

Finally, when the apostle remarks, "Make the most of your time, for these are evil days," he is teaching us to distinguish between things of greater and lessor importance in our lives. The more important are those things which are unique to humans and which we will take with us, those traits which we shall bear when our bodies are old and decrepit-yet alive with an eternal soul. Everything else is directed toward this end. We eat, dress and labor to support our life so that our spirit may grow. For if this is not our goal, how then do we differ from any plant or animal which also feeds, grows and reproduces?

Therefore, cherish the time that has been given to develop our souls and lives, and treat it as a great gift from God. I know a number of people who were stricken with mortal illnesses and then the Lord gave them additional time. How they valued, how they thanked God that they were given an additional year or two! Then they sharply felt just how important time is. So why should we wait for some fatal illness or danger, when it would be better to heed the apostle's words today: "Redeem the time, for these are evil days." Amen.