Outside of Time

Today’s readings are pretty tough to swallow, being not only about hell but also about the end time and not knowing the precise moment. It is easy to look at these readings and be confused as to why we would not be told when Jesus will come for the second time. It seems that a loving God would tell us the exact date so we can get our things in order and prepare, but this gives us a window into one of the more profound truths about God.

Theologians over the years have talked about God being outside of time as we know it today. As Catholics, we call this the eternal now. That everything is present to God at all times. The past, the present, and the future are all known to him in every single moment because it is God who holds all of those moments in being.

This is hard for us to understand as human beings because it is so different from our experience of alarms, schedules, and age. But it’s beautiful because it shows us that our time here on earth, our literal seconds ticking by, is just a drop in the ocean compared to eternity with God. Life might not be perfect, it might be incredibly difficult and filled with suffering, it might have its ups and downs, but we were not meant for this, we were meant for eternal bliss with God forever.

If God sees everything, past, present, and future, then on the cross as he was suffering for us, he was also suffering with us. He saw every suffering we would ever experience and experienced it with us to help us through it. He was already giving us the grace we needed to endure. Why do you think he sweat blood? That’s a lot of pressure, the suffering of all people for all time being offered on the cross.

It may sometimes seem like God doesn’t have a plan or doesn’t care. There is a lot of suffering in the world. But God sees the whole picture. He sees that there is something beyond this world that we are made for. He sees that this world is not the end. He wants us to experience love not only for these ticking seconds on earth but for infinity and beyond. From all of us here at Diocesan, God Bless!

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Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at tshultz@diocesan.com.

Perhaps Today

Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne
bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree.
And as he alighted, he filled every place with death;
he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.

Wow-what an image of the Logos – the Word of God who was God and the maker of all things (John 1: 1-5). I don’t know about you, but as I look around me at the culture, the church, and individual behavior, I think I’d like to see Jesus return as a fierce warrior, filling the earth.

Growing up in a conservative Protestant church, we heard about Christ’s imminent return quite a bit. A famous church leader, M. R DeHaan, even had a motto on his desk that read, “Perhaps today.” He wanted to be reminded daily that Christ could return – would he be ready? I’m not sure I’m as ready as I should be, but I would like to see Him bound from Heaven and fill the earth.

Then we read the Gospel and find a parable that seems somewhat simple compared to such apocalyptic words from Wisdom. A poor widow woman needs justice, and a corrupt judge is her only hope. Although he’s disinclined to listen to her, she wears him down until he finally delivers a just decision just to get rid of her. But Jesus doesn’t leave his disciples (or us) scratching our heads. He explains:

“Will not God secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

So there it is. Do we have faith? Do we pray? If so, do we believe God will answer us and work on our behalf? Does God love us enough to actually take care of us? The Israelites were trapped, with the Egyptian army behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. God showed his love and care and delivered them. He’ll do the same for you and for me–call on him, and don’t grow weary. Marvelous things are in store.

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Pamela joined Diocesan’s staff in 2006, after a number of years in the non-profit sector. Her experience is in non-profit administration including management, finance, and program development, along with database management and communications. She was a catechist in her parish RCIA program for over 15 years, as well as chairperson of their Liturgy Commision. Received into the Catholic Church as an adult, Pamela’s faith formation was influenced by her Mennonite extended family, her Baptist childhood, and her years as a Reformed Presbyterian (think Scott Hahn).