What to do with God’s priceless treasure of time


By Deacon Jeff Schuetzle
For The Catholic Messenger

Deacon Schuetzle

I found this quote by an anonymous author and it goes like this: Every morning you are handed 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you had all the money in the world, you couldn’t buy an extra hour. What will you do with this priceless treasure?

The readings for this first Sunday of Lent offer us some timely suggestions. The Old Testament reading from Genesis is a portion of a very familiar story, Noah and the Ark. This story is one that animates life as lived by L’Arche communities throughout the world. The Arch in Clinton incorporates an image of an ark as part of our logo. As one of the pastoral ministers for 20+ years, the genesis of this story has enlivened many retreats for the community. We rejoice in rainbows, one of which figures prominently in the story of Noah and the Ark.

The great flood covered the earth, as Genesis states, “because the Lord saw how great the wickedness of human beings was on earth … the Lord regretted making human beings on the earth, and his heart was grieved.” Although God’s heart was grieved, he relented and the reading for this Sunday is the conclusion to the great flood story. We see the heart of God change from grieving at human sinfulness to establishing a covenant with Noah and all living creatures.


This is God’s covenant and his alone. A covenant that cannot be broken, for God is always faithful to his promises. The sign of God’s faithful covenant between him and the earth is a rainbow. The rainbow is a sign of eternal hope for all of time. A sign of the promises God makes to all of us who go on searching, struggling, dreaming and wondering about what to do with God’s priceless treasure of time. 


In the Gospel reading for this first Sunday of Lent, we find Jesus driven out to the desert by the Spirit and spending some time there, 40 days of allowing Satan to tempt him. One might ask the question, “Why?” We as humans have all been tempted to grieve God by our sinfulness. One would not really be human if he or she had never dealt with the desires of sin. That’s why Jesus went off to the desert, to give Satan his chance to convince Jesus to grieve God by surrendering to human sinfulness. The angels ministered to him and Jesus returned from his desert days to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” 

We are all tempted to grieve our God throughout our day as Satan distracts us, lures us and deceives us with the busyness of everyday life. How often do we grieve our God by wanting to buy an extra hour? Wishing for more hours in the day. Rings of truth, doesn’t it?

Well, the Church has an answer for these musings, the holy season of Lent. As Noah was led by God to spend 40 days on the ark, as our Lord was led by the Spirit to spend 40 days in the desert, so we are led by the Church to spend 40 days searching, struggling, dreaming and wondering about what to do with God’s priceless treasure of time.

It is a time to repent of the ways in which we have grieved our God. Most importantly, it is a time to renew our baptismal covenant in the Gospel of God, surrendering to an intimate, loving and abiding relationship with his Son, Jesus the Christ.

By doing so, through him, with him and in him we become a sign of hope, disciples who proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand so that others may come to see the rainbow and praise its Maker!

(Deacon Jeff Schuetzle is a deacon at Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton and is director of the diaconate for the Diocese of Davenport.)

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