Many opportunities arise each day that afford us no second chance. In order to take advantage of them, one must seize the moment. Sad to say, many times people just fail to respond, and lose out on the opportunity. How many buying opportunities, travel opportunities, even work opportunities are lost because people fail to respond promptly? Connections are never made and meetings never take place because people fail to take action. Often, these people look back with regret and disappointment at what might have been.
Our God places an array of opportunities before his people; opportunities to choose life. God not only gave us life, he redeemed our lives and showed us the path to everlasting life. He also keeps calling us to choose the path of life. So many opportunities have been laid before God’s people throughout the ages to respond to him. God sent numerous prophets. He gave his laws and teachings. He continues to work great signs and wonders before us. He offers us forgiveness of sins and blesses us with his choicest blessings. Some seize these moments and choose the path of life, while others turn further away from the Lord.
Our Scripture readings today give us examples of people who seized the moment in choosing the path of life. The account of Jonah and the Ninevites clearly shows the opportunity that God laid before Nineveh through the prophet Jonah. The city and all of its inhabitants would be destroyed unless they repented. The people of Nineveh seized the moment. The great and the small repented of their sins and they lived. The story makes it clear that there would be no second chance. Only a prompt response would put them on the path of life – and they responded.
The call of the Apostles to follow Jesus was another blessed opportunity from God. We hear in the Gospel how Jesus laid this opportunity before Peter, Andrew, James and John. Despite any apprehensions they might have felt due to family or work, they seized the moment. They abandoned their former way of life and followed Jesus. There was little time to think about it. Their prompt response placed them in the path of life, alongside the Lord.
Each of us was given new life in Christ in the sacrament of baptism. Since then, God has placed, and continues to place, opportunities before us to choose the path of life again and again. We are called to seize the moment; to use today to grow in faith. Today is the day to love your spouse in the same way that Christ does; to form your children in faith; to visit a sick friend or someone who is grieving. These are the opportunities in daily life through which God calls us to live out our faith. A prompt response to his call can help keep us on the path of life and bring joy. A missed opportunity can leave us looking back with regret and disappointment in our Christian life.
As we look at the various opportunities God places before us each day, the words of today’s second reading remind us that the time is running out … the world in its present form is passing away. We are to seize every opportunity to repent, every opportunity to follow Christ and every opportunity to choose the path of life.