Don’t Waste Time

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 
‘And seeing them in the marketplace he said: ‘Why do you stand here idle all the day.’
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Friends in Christ, wasted time, idleness, is the enemy of the spiritual life. St. Bernard says,[i] ‘nothing is more precious than time, yet people see it as very cheap.
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Life is short. We are given a short amount of time in this world. The Book of Wisdom says, ‘Our life passes away like traces of the clouds, scattered in mist.[ii] Compared to Eternity, this life is very short – ‘Man is like a mere breath,[iii] say the scriptures; he comes forth like a flower, and then withers.[iv]
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‘Why do you stand around here idle all the day?.’  God is asking us.
It is true, that some people waste their time in laziness, frittering away the hours on internet or tv or gossip, or games – this is the weakness of some. But there is another way we waste our time –
We see people going a hundred miles an hour in their life; ‘I have too much to do’ ‘I’m too busy,’ they say. But if we look at what they do, we may see that they are inventing needs that aren’t necessary. Silly things become urgent tasks, a way to avoid the more difficult thing that should be done. They may be busy, but they are not using their time well.
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Using our time well might mean caring for a sick person, or helping a child with homework, or taking time with our spouse; some say, ‘those are not important tasks compared with what I have to do.’ But in reality, acts of charity are a very good use of time.
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Using our time well is central to a life rooted in Jesus Christ. St. James[v] says, people make all sorts of plans for next month or next year, but we don’t know what will happen even tomorrow ….we should rather say, If the Lord wishes me to do this, [today], I will do it.’
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If we use our time doing what God wants, we are walking the path to heaven. But if we waste our time, then we are walking the dark path.
Wasted time is a cancer in our daily actions.
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Recall in the Book of Samuel, how Abigail[vi] saved her family; it was because she went right into action; as it says, ‘she wasted no time.’
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Time is a blessing only for this life. Those who are in hell, say over and over: ‘If only I had one more hour, I could have used it to save my soul.’ Those in Purgatory weep over the time they wasted. Those in heaven cannot be sad, but if they could, it would be over time they lost, by which they could have obtained a higher place in heaven.
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St. Alphonsus tells us that people will say, ‘I’m not doing anything wrong.’ Really? Is it not wrong to spend your time at shows and useless activities, for hours upon hours? Is it not a waste of the time God has given?
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The devil wishes us to either waste time thinking about the past, or waste time worrying about the future. He wants most of all, to keep us from living the present moment. Most troubles come from wondering about the future:[vii] fear, greed, lust, ambition, worry – these all look to the future.
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The devil knows, our life is short; therefore he looses not a moment of time in tempting us. The Book of Revelation says: ‘The devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that the time is short.'[viii]
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We see people in malls, or coffee shops, speaking on useless or obscene subjects for hours and hours. If you ask them what they are doing, they will say, ‘We are passing the time.’
We might see a gambler, spending nights and days gambling;[ix] if you ask him what he is doing, his answer is: ‘I am passing the time.’
By wasting time, we lose many days, days that will never return.
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St. Lawrence Justinian said, ‘What is more precious than time? By it, we can purchase heaven.'[x]
Being disorganized in our work, or incomplete is not worthy of God. Lounging in bed, taking hours for meals, wasting our life. If we waste 7 minutes every day, in a year, that’s an entire work-week that is lost.
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Cardinal Manning says, For everyone, there is a seed-time and then harvest time. Our daily work is the seed-time, the reward is the harvest time. If through waste, we lose the seed-time, we lose the harvest. It is true, God may give us another seed-time, but it’s another one. That which is lost, is lost forever.
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‘Why do you stand there idle all the day?, asks the Lord.
Today Jesus gives us hope. Even if we HAVE wasted time, it is not too late to go to work for God. Jesus is teaching, that if we begin new, today; and decide to work in his Kingdom with our whole heart – if we give up our idleness, and give our heart to Christ in our daily work – well the Lord is ready to reward us for our diligence, even if we get started late in the game. We can start today.
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A man told me, he became convinced that praying Mary’s Rosary would change his life. He decided to pray as many Rosary’s as he could each day. He found himself not only using the beads, while driving to work or at home, but also praying in his head while crossing the parking lot, or waiting in line at the store; counting Hail Mary’s in his mind while dressing or combing his hair.
He said: ‘Father, there is so much wasted time each day, but now none of it is wasted, because I’m always praying in the gaps.’
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What effect did this have on that man? It changed his life. Sins he struggled against, bad thoughts, temptations – faded away.
Mary wishes us to be perfect disciples of Jesus Christ.
She wishes to help us;
and so by praying and using our time well, how beautiful if we could say,
today, I did not waste any of the time God gave me.

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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Mary Magdalene]

[i] Preparation for Death, p. 119.

[ii] Wisdom 2:2-4

[iii] Psalm 143:4

[iv] Job 14:2

[v] James 4:13

[vi] 1 Samuel 25

[vii] Screwtape Letters, Letter XV

[viii] Revelation 12:12

[ix] Preparation for Death, p. 119

[x] Mirror of Priests, p. 180

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