The Hour is at Hand (Fifth Lent)

Jesus continued, “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12: 24 – 25)

One of the secrets of successful business-people is, invariably, balance between their personal and professional lives. They’ll say that their weekends are sacrosanct or maybe it’s the nine-hour day. Whatever their terms, the rest of us in less rarefied air often fail miserably at balance. Our reasons come in every shape and size: It’s expected that we work past 7.00 pm; I need the quiet of the weekend to get to this project off my desk; just one more hour will really help me, and I have no plans tonight anyway; I’ve got my kids; tuition to worry about, so I have to put the extra hours in.

Sooner or later, though, that moment of truth comes along when you realise your life is passing you by and you worry that all you have to show for it is work.

Consider this week’s gospel a wake-up call. We cannot save ourselves from the hour of our deaths. If it comes this day, or the next, what will you regret most?

Throughout Lent, try starting each morning reciting this prayer of the psalmist: Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me.

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