It is not really that difficult to see how much that time impacts our day. We often rush from one thing to the next, and it can feel that every minute is accounted for. At other times, because of hardship or the desire for a big event to come that time can appear to move very slowly. When we are engaged in something we really, really enjoy, time seems to fly by. Before we know it, it is time for the wonderful thing to come to an end.
Today’s reading from the gospel speaks about knowing when is the right time for something. People face “timing” decisions all the time. Is now the right time to leave this job? Is this the time I should propose marriage? When should I take a vacation? When should we have children? There are variety of these types of questions. And while on the one hand there may or may not be an ironclad “right” time for these decisions, we do seem to pay careful attention to these questions.
What is really most important when considering time, really, is the way in which we prioritize it. The most important concept of time is finding out how it is that we identify “God’s time.” All of the questions I proposed, and others besides, are best answered in the context of discernment. What does God want us to do at this time? How is God active in my life right now? To what is God calling me?
Too often, I know that in my life, I do not consider the will of God, seeking, rather, to use only my own reason for a decision. To be sure, the gift of our reason is an important part of the talents God has given us in life. It is not to be minimized. At the same time, God is omnipresent ready to help us with the outpouring of grace, so that we can make decisions that lead to fulfillment.
Such is the interplay between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees. It is not that there is right and wrong, but rather that the question is one of timing. There is the right time for things. And for the disciples of Jesus, who are spending time with him face to face, this is not the time for fasting. Rather, it is a time for seeking to understand the identity of Jesus and the role he will call them to accept as his followers.
This, then, is the invitation that awaits all of us. It is not that Jesus dismisses fasting. It is, rather, that Jesus indicates this is not the time. “God’s time” is a really important thing for all of us to seek to discern in our own lives. Perhaps the most important consideration is that in all we do, God has the right time for us.