The Feast of the Epiphany—2022 St. Anthony, Dalhart, Texas
There’s a country song with a line that says:
“Time, like money, just slips away.
No one knows where it goes.”
When you’re my age,
it’s easy to wonder where the time goes.
But, these days, even teenagers say the same thing.
So, let’s talk about this thing called “time.”
Most of the time, talk about “time”
is talk about chronological time---
that is, the kind of time that you can measure,
as in minutes, hours, days,
weeks, months, years,
decades, centuries, etc.
It’s “punch the time card” kind of time;
time to buy a new car and time to go to bed
and time to get married and time to go on vacation
and, before you know it, time to retire!
We spend our lives stuck in time
like a fly in a spider’s web.
We can’t beat the clock!
Or can we?
Think about it.
Are there times in your life
when time seems to stand still?
Do you ever pull off the road
and let time roll on past as you gaze at the blazing beauty
of a West Texas sunset?
Or what about when a certain song takes you back in time…
and, suddenly, you’re back in high school!
And you’re right there in the bleachers or on the field
and the crowd is cheering and life is good
and, for just a moment, we wish we could live in that moment forever.
The Bible has a word for that kind of time:
It’s called Kairos.
It’s the kind of time that you can’t measure.
It is time-without-end.
It is a brief taste of eternity itself
where time itself no longer exists.
Or, as the Bible describes it:
a level of consciousness where
“one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day.”
Sometimes, we experience a moment of Kairos
when we least expect it:
We gaze at a sunset
We hear an old song,
We smell a certain perfume
We visit the town or the farm where we grew up
But there is another place where time stops,
where time stands still
when all Creation holds its breath in wonder and expectation:
that place just happens to be St. Anthony Church in Dalhart, Texas!
It might be New Years’ Day outside the walls of this church,
but inside the walls of this church, the walls of time fall away.
Welcome to Kairos time!
We say, “The Lord be with you.”
We do not say, “The Lord was with you last Tuesday.
The Lord will be with you next Friday.”
The Lord is with you…right here, right now.
We don’t just hear about angels singing “Glory to God”
above a sheep pasture outside Bethlehem,
we join the angels singing “Glory to God”
at the beginning of each Mass!
We don’t just hear about kings placing gifts at the feet of Christ,
we, ourselves, place the gift of our entire life on the altar of Christ
at each Offertory of each and every Mass.
We don’t just remember that Christ died for our sins,
here at Mass we actually find ourselves
standing next to Mother Mary
beneath the outstretched arms of her Son…
we hear Him gasp in pain, we see her hands smeared with his blood!
And, at the moment of Holy Communion,
it is not a piece of unleavened Bread that rests in our palm,
but the strong hand that broke the iron chains of death
and pushed aside the boulder at the entrance of the tomb;
the same hand that rescued Peter from drowning the waves of the sea,
the same hand that lifted a little girl from the bed where she lay dying,
the same hand that reaches out for you, today, right here, right now…
drawing you out of the world of deadlines and schedules,
that place where there is never enough time
to love and laugh and sing and dance…
a firm hand gently drawing you closer, ever closer,
to a place where time stands still
and all you feel is love and grace and joy and peace…
that place where “one day is as a thousand years,
and a thousand years are as one day.”
Outside this church this weekend,
people will be wishing one another, “Happy New Year,”
But, inside the Church, the deepest wish is always,
“Happiness with God who is Love, forever and ever. Amen!”