Tempus Fugit
2nd Sunday of Advent

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

For me, the ultimate invention is the time machine. Fortunately, it is still in the realm of imagination. In real life, although we can gain time, spend time, buy time, and waste time we cannot bring back time. As I approach the end of my 50’s, I ask the questions that others my age are bound to ask. Where has time gone? Did I make a good use of my time? How much time is left?

Action starter: If this is your last day, how will you spend it?

The season of Advent is a good time to reflect on time. It is the beginning of the liturgical cycle. It marks a new time. It reminds us that there are beginnings and endings – Alpha and Omega. The fantasy of the time machine is that we can go back or go forward in time. We can even stop time or put time on pause with a digital touch. This may be possible in virtual reality but real time is something that in our experience has passed, is presently being lived, and is a horizon of possibilities. As the old Latin saying goes, “tempus fugit” -- time flies.

How fast or how slow time flies is relative. Einstein is right on the relativity of time. Even our personal experience bears this out. Time is slow for those who wait. It goes fast for those who are busy, and the romantics allege that time stops for those who are in love.

In today’s second reading, we are reminded by the letter of Peter that a thousand years are a day in the Lord’s eyes (2Pt. 3:8). As the Christian disciple waits for the day of the Lord’s return, or the day of being called by the Lord, he must make wise use of his time. What we consider as delay or procrastination on the part of God, may actually be an opportunity for conversion and repentance for us sinners (v. 15). God gives us time.

Advent is a time of conversion. The first reading and the gospel tell us to “make straight the path of the Lord.” The prophet Isaiah talks of a new Exodus. It is a time of restoration of Israel from exile back to their land. Just as in the first exodus, they passed through the desert, so will they make the desert their highway. The time of renewal has come. The Gospel points to John the Baptizer as the man of the hour who announces, “Get the road ready for the Lord; make straight paths for him to travel (Mk. 1:3). The letter of Peter is more forthright, “You must turn away from evil and do good” (2 Pt. 3:11).

What is our attitude toward time? Why is it that young people are so anxious to grow up while older people are so anxious to look young? Shouldn’t we experience children as children, accept teen-agers as teen-agers, and appreciate older people as older people?

For example, one of my pet peeves about television shows is the early sexualization of children. Can’t children act as children?

In the same manner, even as we try to delay the symptoms of aging, there comes a point when we just have to accept graciously the greys, lines, and aches of sunset years.

There is beauty in old age. I remember a writer’s comment when two famous personalities died one after the other. They were the two most beautiful people of their time – Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

So, what do we do with the gift of time? The letter of Peter exhorts us, “Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, as you wait for the day of God” (2Pt. 3:12). For those who truly love God and all that He created, time on earth is only a prelude to eternity.