Carpe Diem! Seize the Day! That is the message for us today. But, it is not the message in that secular sense of eat and drink all you can for tomorrow we die. Nope, the Christian’s carpe diem is what we hear in St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy today: “lay hold of eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12). This isn’t simply a rallying call, it is a genuine and practical invitation for us to consider. But how on earth do we lay hold of something that has already begun and is intangible?
Last week the Christian event of the Resurrection was our focus. The Resurrection changed history from the perspective of a timeline, but the only reason that occurred is because it changed individuals’ perspectives of the timeline. The history of salvation has many genealogies associated with it. There are many rulers and kingdoms to trace back over the course of our salvation story. But with the Resurrection, the new Christian event, our focus is on eternity in the present.
Think of it this way. Step into a dark room and turn on a flash light. Now, try and lay hold of that light that is being projected. As you will find out, you cannot grasp it with your hand. Your hand will pass right through the light. In order to lay hold of the light you need a different perspective. Instead of fits of reaching and clutching for the light, if you step back and step in front of it, you will have found a way to capture it.
This is the perspective of our call as Christians. We are meant to live in the light and we do this by stepping back from the petty things of life to see what is beautiful. We lay hold of eternal life when we recognize the glory of a brisk breeze or the red leaves of a Fall morning. We lay hold of eternal life when we pause beneath the peacefulness of a clear starlit night. We lay hold of eternal life when we take joy in our friends and the community that we create together.
In the gospel this Sunday, the rich man did not take hold of any of these things (Luke 16:19-31). He chose the feast and the fine linens. He chose to know the poor man Lazarus’ name, but to not invite him in to dine. Laying hold of eternal life is directly associated with the Christian vocation to insert love into the world. For when we insert love, we insert God. And when we insert God, we insert eternity. When we insert eternity, we have laid hold of the Christian perspective.
This week, when you are concerned with how much time you have to finish your work or get to a meeting or eat dinner or sit in traffic, think of the time you do have at that moment to turn your thoughts to the beautiful things. Carry those beautiful things with you and you will live more fully and eternally. Blessed be God forever.