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Seeing Christ in Kairos Time this Time of Lent
kairos vs chronos time
1st Sunday of Lent, Year B
The First Sunday of Lent! It seems like it was just yesterday since we’ve celebrated Holy Week of 2011 and now once again we are in Lent. This year, however, as we try to celebrate this season, we urge our community to focus on this theme: “Making Christ Better Known Through Charity.” This is a very timely theme, which was taken from both our Holy Father’s Message for Lent 2012 and our diocesan theme. But what is charity?
A hurricane blew across the Caribbean. It didn't take long for the expensive yacht to be swamped by high waves, sinking without a trace. There were only two survivors: the boat's owner Dr. Eskin and its steward Benny who managed to swim to the closest island.
After reaching the deserted strip of land, the steward was crying and very upset that they would never be found. The other man was quite calm, relaxing against a tree.
"Dr. Eskin, how can you be so calm?" cried Benny. "We're going to die on this lonely island. We'll never be discovered here."
"Sit down and listen to what I have to say, Benny," began the confident Dr. Eskin. "Five years ago I gave the $500,000 to the United Way. I donated the same amount four years ago. And three years ago, I did very well in the stock market so I contributed $750,000. Last year, business was good so the charity got $1,000,000."
"So what?" shouted Benny.
"Well, you can bet they're going to find me because it's time for their annual fund drive!"
Whether we like it or not, oftentimes, we associate charity with money. To be charitable is to be able to give as much money as possible. It is often the case that we are so much identified by the fruits of money rather than by the fruits of charity itself. St. Thomas Aquinas once said, “The things that we love tell us what we are.” Charity is summed up in the commandments: “to love God and to love one another as ourselves. If we understand love this way and practice it, our identity will also flow from such love.
Today’s Gospel highlights charity in terms of time. New Testament Greek uses the word chronos to denote the measurement of time as clocks and calendars measure time. But New Testament Greek also uses another word kairos, to denote moments of great significance or in other words “glorious moments.”
When you get married to someone that occurs in kairos time. When you received your diploma on Graduation Day, which you’ve been looking forward for sometime, is another kairos event. A collection of pictures on your Ipad takes you out of chronos time and puts you into kairos time, the times of your life that you treasure so well.
In today’s gospel account we find Jesus in kairos time. After His baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan Jesus before His public ministry, He puts himself in a place where time doesn’t matter. This was for Him a time of great importance. Why did He do so? For two main reasons: one is to set a balance in His life. A man of virtue, is a man of balance. Lent calls us to balance our lives in order that we may not lose ourselves in the process as we are confronted with life’s challenges. And two, in order that He may come to terms with His Father to fully discern His mission. He was sent by the Father to save us, but just like any ordinary son, He needed an assurance from His Father that He’s on the right track and that He is truly ONE in heart and mind with His Father. His desert experience served as a powerhouse where He derived His strength and guidance. He knew that He’ll be facing something that’s not easy to deal with. He knew that if He does not spend sometime with His Father in kairos time, He could lose His very identity in the process.
As the Gospel reflects, we too, are called to be like Christ to spend some kairus moment with God this Lenten Season and be charitable for that matter. How much time do we give for God each day? Charity is not just simply giving some things we have. It is giving our best share of things including time. Our daily routine is important, but our time with God is as important as well.
Moreover, our Church organizes time, not according to chronos, but according to kairos. The Liturgical Year is a gift to us in order that, in spite of all that the world throws at us, we might grab every opportunity to make it significant and glorious.
And so, in this season of Lent kairos is upon us. As we have moved from Christmas, to Ash Wednesday, to the Holy Triduum until Easter, to Pentecost, repeatedly every year in chronos time we are brought to enter into kairos time, a time of meaning and purpose, a time of significance, a glorious moment we should not just let pass.
So, what are the kairos times of your life? How do we make use of such times in order to lift one’s spirit to a higher plane of spirituality?
Blessed John Paul II once exhorted: "Purposely set aside your normal routine and preoccupations for a short period in order to spend time with a family member or a friend." Spending sometime with them could become a kairus moment if you choose to make it as such. At lent, make each time important as you perform acts of charity of prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
May this year’s time of Lent be meaningful and significant as we truly make Christ better known as we share, and much more transcend our chronos time to kairos in charity.