While preparing for my annual visit to Peru one of things on my mind was the mystery of time. All of us reflect on the passage of time, especially as years mount up. Time can seem to pass slowly or much too fast (usually the latter). One thing we can be sure of is that our time and God's time are very different. C.S. Lewis offers this meditation on the Bible verse that for God "a thousand years are as a yesterday - and one day is as a thousand years."
"In Psalm 90 (4) it had been said that a thousand years were to God like a single yesterday; in 2 Peter 3, 8 - not the first place in the world where one would have looked for so metaphysical a theology - we read not only that a thousand years are as one day but also that "one day is as a thousand years." The Psalmist only meant, I think, that God was everlasting, that His life was infinite in time. But the epistle takes us out of the time-series altogether. As nothing outlasts God, so nothing slips away from Him into a past. The later conception (later in Christian thought - Plato had reached it) of the timeless as an eternal present has been achieved. Ever afterwards, for some of us, the "one day" in God's courts which is better than a thousand, must carry a double meaning. The Eternal may meet us in what is, by our present measurements, a day, or (more likely) a minute or a second; but we have touched what is not in any way commensurable with lengths of time, whether long or short. Hence our hope finally to emerge, if not altogether from time (that might not suit our humanity) at any rate from the tyranny, the unilinear poverty, of time, to ride it not to be ridden by it, and so to cure that always aching wound ("the wound man was born for") which mere succession and mutability inflict on us, almost equally when we are happy and when we are unhappy. For we are so little reconciled with time that we are even astonished at it. "How he's grown!" we exclaim, "How time flies!" as though the universal form of our experience were again and again a novelty. It is as strange as if a fish were repeatedly surprised at the wetness of water. And that would be strange indeed; unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal."
--Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis (p. 137)
Indeed we are often surprised, even astonished, by the passage of time. This amazement can strike us as we come to the end of not only a year, but a whole century. In fact, in just two months (whether ready or not) we will enter the third millenium since the birth of Jesus. Some fear the year 2000, but the Holy Father has told us to expect a year of grace, the beginning of new springtime for the Church. The year 2000 is a Year of Jubilee, an opportunity for each one of us to receive the abundance of God's grace.
To begin the Year of Jubilee Pope John Paul II will open the Holy Door in Rome. Here in our parish we will have something to reflect that beautiful symbol. The U.S. Bishops have sent a "Blessing of a Jubilee Door" which can be used in a parish or even a home. One of the doors of our church will be designated as a Jubilee Door and will be blessed on Christmas eve before the entrance of the children representing Joseph and Mary. Those who pass through that door will be greeted by the original statue of the Sacred Heart which our Knights of Columbus have refurbished. It is my hope as pastor that every Holy Family parishioner who has reached the age of first confession and first communion will pass through that door, which represents Jesus, and will receive from him the Holy Year Indulgence. I will be explaining more about this when I return from Peru in mid-November. My prayers for God's protection over each one of you and your families. Please keep me in your prayers during my time at the Mary Bloom Center in Puno, Peru.
--Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. Where will you be on New Year's Eve 1999? Some people will be at parties, others at home in front of the television, more phlegmatic souls will be curled up in bed. I would like to invite you to welcome the new millenium right here at Holy Family Church. We will be having Mass at 11 p.m. on December 31, followed by some time of eucharistic adoration. What better way to celebrate the 2000th anniversary of the Incarnation than by attending the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and spending some time with Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament?