According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary, time is defined as those minutes and hours that regulate our moments, movements and activities. People are conscious of time. When one has no wrist watch, he asks the other, what time is it? He is asking for information to adjust or stop what he is doing to enter into another impending activity. It could be that he has an appointment, a lecture, church meeting or Mass, or someone is waiting for him at a given time. The modern man is conscious of time because he knows its value. If he does not know the value of time, it will cost him dearly. If he’s a business man, and he’s not conscious of time, he will miss many appointments. If he misses two or four of such appointments, his business partners might not regard him as a serious business man, and this may affect his business.
When we talk about time, we talk about clock which is an instrument that regulates our time in order to meet appointments, and programme ourselves. Before the invention of clock, the primitive man had his own way of regulating life’s activities through the help of his biological clock. He didn’t have to set an alarm clock which today has replaced our biological clock. The primitive man had a queer way of measuring time. He used his shadow or the position of the sun to measure time. When the shadow is long, it is morning; when it is shortened it might be evening or afternoon for him. He survives by attempting to know time to eke out his existence or to plan for his daily routine because he knows that he must meet up with time. There is time for everything. There are seasons and moments. There is time for going to meetings, time to attend lectures, time to meet friends, time for going to church; and time to meet a priest for spiritual counseling. People ask, ‘what time is the first Mass and for second Mass? They have a choice to make because they have other activities ahead. They would like things to be finished in time so that they can engage in other activities.
So the preacher who is not conscious of time loses his parishioners because we are living in a modern world full of activities. Even on Sundays people are conscious of time. In some parishes, they are very conscious of time because of the many Masses they have. Pastors can never have a big gathering if they fail to keep to time. If you have numerous activities marked out for the day and yet you are not conscious of time, other activities can be affected when the time is wasted on just one activity. It does not make economic or spiritual sense when the whole time is consumed in one activity. Even man, organizers of events, pastors, lawyers, business men, catechists, and teachers cannot survive without following the protocols of time. Business men say time is money! Sometimes we see non-verbal signs from the audience such as looking at their time-piece or scratching their heads when their time has been taken, affected by the preacher who is acting outside their time. As a result, their participation at Mass might be low. Even children, once you delay them so much, their sense of participation diminishes. If the choir is not conscious of time the Mass can drag. Likewise, those who make announcements, if they do not know time management, the Mass could also drag.
Time delayed causes distraction and makes you rush. You know the consequences of rushing. You might get involved in accidents; you might be shouting at people at the slightest delay; while they are not the real cause of your problem. Your problem started with not keeping to time or regulating your life on time started to end an event. Therefore time is important for a civilized man. Time is shared with the preacher and the audience.The preacher does not own time and does not have the right to prolong it for unnecessary exaggerations. We cannot do without time. If we cannot keep to time or use time, we might be frustrated. Time is precious. Time is everything; even at meals, time is important. Time wasted can be paradise lost; time wasted can be benefits lost. Time misused has its own disastrous consequences. Time spent uselessly can earn you condemnation and time well spent is rewarding.
Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah