One of my favorite sayings came from the waiting the room of our former family dentist Dr. Eddie Calalec of Meycauyan, Bulacan that says, “Time is fast for those who rush; Time is slow for those who wait; but, Time is NOT for those who love.” We all complain of time being so fast. Everybody is always in a hurry. According to an elderly man I have talked to a couple of years ago, time moves so fast these days because people are always busy. He explained that before, time was so slow because after farming earlier that day, they just waited for sunset and for time of harvest. Life was so laid back at that time that truly time was so slow. But life is not about time being fast or slow but of love. The Church rightly celebrates today not the New Year which is time; remember that we celebrated the new year in the Church calendar last first Sunday of Advent. Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God to celebrate her great love for Jesus that we hope to emulate this 2019.
Mary embodies the whole meaning of that saying “TIME is not for those who love” as she presents to us not only the first but the perfect disciple of Jesus who loves Him so much. St. Paul beautifully expressed in the second reading when time is not because of love which is “the fullness of time” (Gal.4:4). When we love, there is fullness of time as if everything is suspended in animation, everything is frozen. Every man who had courted any woman knows this very well of how time freezes when conversing with a beloved, not realizing the passing of time. Old couples experience the same thing and so are good friends who could “waste” time together doing nothing, saying nothing to one another that after a few hours are all surprised at how long we have been together. Time and space cease to bound people who truly love. And that is why“if you want to be eternal, then, love” like God.
People who love are always in haste not to do things or accomplish tasks but to be with their loved ones. Luke tells us how “The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger” (Lk.2:16) after a heavenly host of angels proclaimed to them the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ. We also heard from Luke during our Simbang Gabi after the annunciation of the birth of Jesus when “Mary set out and travelled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah” (Lk.1: 39). This is the kind of haste – to come quickly to meet God, to be with a beloved, dear one – that is slowly fading away among us in this crazy world always on a mad race. Everybody is rushing, running around, multitasking to accomplish so much that deplete us of energy even of time to be with our loved ones. Many parents are guilty of this who turn nights into days making money to send their kids into expensive schools because of love; yet, when you ask them to attend a school meeting, to get the card of their children, they send the grandparents or nannies because they are busy at work. More so with God as seen in the steady decrease of Mass attendance with people coming in late and then rushing to leave for meals and other things. And admittedly, this is partly because so many priests are also in a rush to celebrate more masses and sacraments sadly for the wrong reasons and most of all, many of us could not share Jesus in homilies because we could not even come to Him for prayers. It is simply a case of lack of any concern for God despite professions of faith or belief in Him. Would we be like the shepherds if a host of angels appear tonight or today to tell us where Jesus Christ is? Would we go in haste to find God, to meet God? Would we be in haste to be with our loved ones, really?
In this age of instant connections and social media via modern communications, actual meetings and coming together person to person have been replaced by mediated interactions. We hardly experience anyone’s presence anymore that relationships have become superficial without any depths and meaning at all. There is always the TV and the gadgets to entertain everyone, forgetting the tremendous blessing of everyone’s presence. In the first reading we heard how God instructed Moses and Aaron to bless the people whenever they gather because every human presence is a blessing, a gift or a present. And the highest blessing we can all have is the presence of God among us in Christ Jesus! Mary as the Mother of Jesus is teaching us today that God is always present within us and with one another. Let us not waste our time rushing for so many things that we only realize the giftedness of everyone most especially of our very selves when we are already old or sick. Mary as the Mother of God and our Mother too shows us the need to always be in haste to meet Jesus right here inside us for He is here to stay with us, to be with us for the next 365 days of 2019, come rain or shine, no matter what. AMEN. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
Photo of another painting by Bulakenyo visual artist Aris Bagtas depicting Mary with the child Jesus in lively colors, going out perhaps to meet the rainy new year. Used with permission.