Daily Reflection
September 24th, 2004
Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Chaplain Creighton University Medical Center
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Two years ago I wrote a reflection for precisely this liturgical day and at that time I focused my comments on the gospel reading, a very important passage indeed. Today, in order to avoid repetition, I will comment on the first reading from Qohelet: “There is an appointed time for everything and a time for every thing under the heavens.” Let me start by saying that I am not quite happy with the North American Bible’s translation “appointed time,” which may be taken in a deterministic sense of a pre-decided divine blueprint for each moment of our lives. Other translations read “season” or “right moment” and that speaks rather of an optimal window, something I am more at peace with.

One of the traits of our prevailing culture is the “instant gratification syndrome”: instant coffee, microwave cooking, fast food, even digital photos. We cannot wait and, more importantly, we cannot wait for the right moment. As I review my own experience, I have more than once regretted not having waited for a better moment to take action. Rarely have I regretted waiting for the right moment to act, except maybe in trivial things like a discount sale of some minor item. It is a gift knowing when to act and when to wait and truly a sign of wisdom and grace. In John’s gospel Jesus at times abstained from acting because “his hour had not yet arrived” and the moment was not right.

In theological/spiritual parlance “kairos” conveys in a faith context the idea of a graced moment, something I want to understand as an optimal moment, not as the only moment for God’s grace to be active in our lives. We are perhaps more accustomed to considering all space as God’s space, the space of a God who cannot be limited to any particular circumscribed space and who will be worshiped “neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.” [Jn. 4:21]  Even if we are less accustomed to looking at it this way, all times too are God’s times. But, just as there are “graced spaces” that are more conducive to our being aware of God’s presence, so also there are “graced moments” that, without being exclusive, are more conducive to our being aware of God’s action in our lives. Any such moment is truly “kairos” and recognizing it is a gift, a grace we have to desire and pray for. When we do desire something, we become more alert to favorable opportunities to attain it and, if faith is operative in our lives, we pray for it.

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