Chronos and Kairos
23 September 2022, Friday of the 25th Week in the Ordinary Time
Memorial of St Padre Pio de Pietrelcina, Capuchin priest
Lk 9: 18-22
The 1st Reading makes reflect God’s gift of time. How do we know that time exists? In Scholastic Thomistic philosophy, we define time as “ens rationis cum fundamentum in re” (a being in the mind with a foundation in reality). Can we see time as walking, as jumping, as dancing and as running? We do not. But we see people and things change. We experience movement. There is beginning and ending. Changes and movements are experiential realities to which our minds assent to.
Notice as well that time can be understood as chronos and kairos. Time as chronos refers to events that happen every minute of our life. In other words, our ordinary day to day living. Time as Kairos refers to an opportune moment. Significant events that highlight our life is a kairos. Notice as well that in time, good and evil are present. They do not compete. They co-exist. And if God allowed evil to inflict us, it is not to punish us, it is not to destroy us and it is not to terminate us. Rather, to bring out goodness even if situations do not favor us. This is beyond human understanding. This is God’s wisdom. And wisdom can be only be understood if we submit to His will for in His will is our peace.
In the Gospel reading, both chronos and kairos are evident. In their day to day living with Jesus, the disciples walked, talked, cooked, ate, worked, swam, cried and even experienced weariness with Him. But in the ordinariness of Jesus, a son of carpenter, a friend of the outcasts and an itinerant preacher, they saw something more in Him. Thus, Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah of God!” But their concept of Jesus’ messiahship was within their Jewish conventional expectation. They hoped for a messiah who would be political, economic and military. But Jesus led them to the kairos of His messiaship, His suffering, death and resurrection, to which, at first, they could not accept. But Jesus led them to that gradual acceptance, with patience, with understanding and greater charity.
If there is an appointed time for everything, our Lord Jesus is not spared from the different seasons. He was born. He lived, worked, preached, healed, did miracles and even suffered, died, was buried and on the third day rose from the dead. In the chronos, there is kairos. He lived in time and in space. By subjecting Himself to history, God, in Jesus has saved, is saving and will save humanity, as it was in the beginning, is now and will be, forever and ever. In history, there is comedy, there is tragedy. All find meaning in its penultimate, God’s glory, as revealed in the Paschal Mystery.
Today could be too ordinary. But how can you make it extraordinary? Jesus decided to make it extraordinary by turning pain into a moment to gain by turning hate and rejection into a moment of dealing the situation with greater patience and understanding. He turned His passion and death as a moment to love. We were not saved by how Jesus died but why He died. If we have the reason for everything, we shall live daily with a sense of purpose, direction and meaning. Yes, we can allow people, things and events to be. But the reason that we bear in our minds and the love that we have in our hearts make a significant difference.
There is an appointed time for everything. How can we live what has been appointed by God to us? Let our answer reveal faith, hope and love in the God who makes human history filled with mystery. Amen.
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