“Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day's walk...
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast and all of them,
great and small, put on sackcloth.”
“I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.”
“This is the time of fulfillment...”
This reflection is not written for sympathy, but it is a little bit of reality. I’m sure, with your family and work schedules, it is very similar to the lives you lead, so it’s also not about comparing, or heaven forbid, competing for whose life is busiest. It is just some insight into my schedule. I love being a priest and am not complaining or whining!
With prayer, mass, appointments, meetings, emergencies, events, gatherings, home visits, weddings, anointings, baptisms, confessions, funerals, emails, phone calls, homily preparation, writing these articles, staff interactions, check signing, other administration, classroom visits, sporting events, school functions, planning, and more, it is not uncommon for my ministry related time to reach 80+ hours per week as I try to do my best as pastor of Saint Boniface, pastor of Saint Patrick, and Vicar for Priests and travel between the three. The remaining 88 hours each week are where I fit in sleep, family, friendships, reading, errands, exercise, eating, relaxation, and other interests. As you read this, I am on vacation for a week and grateful for the opportunity to rest so that I may sustain my ministry and serve you better.
With so much going on in all of our lives, it can seem like all we do is rush, rush, rush. I have to get to the next meeting, check my emails, respond to a text, or visit the hospital. We can get lost in the cycle of busyness. Our lives are so full of haste that we can start to miss what’s truly important: our relationship with God and other people. The priority in our lives should be love. It’s unlikely that our lives will change such that we have more time, so how do we make love of God and others our focus?
There are two things I’ll mention ever so briefly. First, we need to cultivate an ability to be present in this moment, aware of and experiencing the people and actions right in front of us. Be here now. Second, as our readings for today indicate, we need to have a sense of urgency about what is truly important, recognizing God’s call, providence, and interruptions. Keep the main thing the main thing, even as we do what we do.
Mumford and Sons is one of my favorite bands and lyrics from one of their songs, Not With Haste, resonates with me in the midst of my own busyness:
Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste
As it keeps my heart and soul in its place
And I will love with urgency
But not with haste