Time Flies. So What Do We Do?
“Everyone is looking for you,” Simon said to Jesus. After emerging on the scene in Galilee, with miracles and powerful teaching authority, it’s no wonder that so many people were seeking Jesus – some to be healed, others to be taught, still more simply to catch a glimpse of this new Rabbi from Nazareth. Jesus came and proclaimed the presence of the kingdom of God and of the urgency to bring ourselves to the Father. Many knew that they were far away; others might have only been curious; but still, everyone is looking for Jesus.
Are you looking for Jesus? I mean, do you truly seek Him constantly in your life – in each encounter and every moment? This is more than just being at Church or reading the Bible. Rather, it is an encounter with the living God, the Word-made-Flesh, dwelling among us. Jesus, the Savior of the World, who offers us the fullness of life and joy through a personal relationship with Him. That is what drove so many to seek Him out in the Gospel, and it is what has driven so many to seek Him out throughout history. However, for each disciple, it is a deeply personal story – one to which God pays close attention because of His love for us. It starts for everyone with a longing – a sense of disquiet or incompleteness.
When I was in high school, one English teacher made us memorize a poem by the American poet Robert Frost. It was called “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Maybe you’ve heard of it. It goes,
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf;
So Eden sank to grief.
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
The meaning of the poem is that the beautiful and wonderful things that we so often cling to can seem fleeting, and they pass away easily in their fragility. Life always moves forward, and we can often lament that passage of time because we feel some sense of regret – even helplessness in the face of the hard passage of time.
Job understood this. He voices a familiar complaint that we have probably all had before: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle; they come to an end without hope.Remember that my life is like the wind; I shall not see happiness again.” Cheery thoughts, huh? But we all know what he means. I was only fifteen years old when I memorized that poem. It seems like only yesterday. Now, as the gold of my hair recedes to a thinner dirty blond with grey around the edges, I understand all too well what Robert Frost meant – and certainly what Job meant.
What is the point? What is the meaning of life? Why am I here – and why am I here now? Time seems to trudge on with an air of inevitability about it. Just yesterday, I was a freshman in college with a whole life and dreams ahead of me, and now, thirty years later, I wonder where that time went; where did those dreams go? I am sure that all of you have felt that at some point or another as well. We lament the passing of the years, dreading the end of it all, which sometimes seems all too soon. What do we have in light of all that decay?
We search for meaning in our lives – purpose – a spark of life that makes it all seem “worthwhile.” That is what the readings this weekend are all about. Paul found his true meaning in following Jesus, and he knew that he had to share that relationship with everyone. It drove him; it filled him with life; it was a spark that ignited his days and brought him to new people and places to proclaim the Gospel. Only an encounter and relationship with Jesus could do this. It’s why all those people in the Gospel were looking for Jesus – they knew that there was a fullness of life that awaited them, that no one and nothing else could give them.
Brothers and sisters, we have end-less life – eternal life given by Christ. “Everyone is looking for you.” Are you one of them? Here, we encounter Jesus in His Word and in His Body and Blood. Don’t let this be simply another day, another moment, that passes and adds to your regret over the passage of time. Pass that time with Jesus, and you will soon see that this is a journey worth taking, one that has no end except in the eternal life for which God created you.
“Nothing gold can stay,” but that personal, life-giving relationship with Jesus? – that is forever!