Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 21, 2018 Cycle B
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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Sunday Reading Meditations

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

“This is the time of fulfillment.”

Today’s readings talk about time and its meaning. In ancient Greek mythology, time was represented by the god Chronos, who swallowed his own children as soon as they were born. Time was considered to be a destructive force. We experience time as something that is against us. Time brings wrinkles and white hair. We can dye our hair and disguise wrinkles. However, time does not stop.

When Saint Paul says “the time is running out,” he is not talking about the destructive power of time. He is saying that a new reality started with the Resurrection of Christ. Time is no longer a walk to death. On the contrary, now time is a walk to glory.

After the Resurrection of Christ, we live in a time of fulfillment. Jesus says in the Gospel: “This is the time of fulfillment” (Mk 1:15).

When Saint Paul says, “From now on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully” (1 Cor 7:29–31), he is not recommending indifference with regard to earthly things. What he is saying is that because we are living in the time of fulfillment, we are called to experience what is important in our lives—love, joys and sorrows, money and possessions—in a different and new way. Saint Paul wished to prevent the Corinthians from becoming engrossed in the things of this world and, thereby, miss the true accomplishment given by Christ. It would be a great loss! All the things of this world only have value in relation to Christ. He is the one who can fulfill the desire for happiness that abides in our hearts: “This is the time of fulfillment.”

However, it is not easy for us to see this new reality inaugurated by Christ. We are still experiencing time in the “Chronos” way. Fighting against time, we try to grasp whatever we think can give us fulfillment. That is why sadness takes possession of our hearts so many times.

The first reading says that the Prophet Jonah invited Nineveh to convert. In the Gospel, Jesus says: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15).  To understand that we live “in the time of fulfillment,” we need conversion. We need to accept Jesus’ call in the same way that the disciples did, as the passage from the culture of death to the culture of life.

The god Chronos and his logic of death still dominate the world. Abortion is an example of this. On the thirty-ninth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade, we are reminded that “as God recognized each of us before we were born, and called us by name, so too may we recognize the value of each human life and pledge ourselves to continue to defend and nurture God’s greatest gift to us.”

“This is the time of fulfillment.”  Let us ask Our Lord for the grace of the conversion of our hearts, the gifts of understanding and knowledge of the new reality that Jesus introduced in this world. May Our Lady help all of us to be heralds of the culture of life.  Amen.