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Posts Tagged ‘chronos’

Yesterday, the 1st Sunday in Advent, is the beginning of the Church’s new year.  The Church’s year is not the same as the secular year of January through December.  We only have one word for time, time!  In the New Testament Greek there are two words:  Chronos and Kairos.  Fr. Patrick Reardon in an article on this subject wrote:

“The first Greek term is chronos, meaning time on the move, time as before and after, time as the future passing through the present and so becoming the past. From this Greek word chronos we derive such English terms as chronic, chronicle, and chronology. Thus, we call an illness chronic if it lasts a long time. A chronicle is an account of events through a sequence of time. Chronology is the itemized, studied measurement of time.”

In St. Matthew’s Gospel,  Jesus says, “When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit.” (21: 34)  The literal Greek for “season for fruit” or harvest is “the kairos of fruit”.  When a fruit tree’s  ripeness happens in time but it can not be predicted as to the chronos, the measurable time. It ripens at the right time.
“Strictly speaking, we don’t measure kairos. We don’t ask someone, for example, “How much Christmas did you have?” We inquire, rather, “what sort of Christmas did you have?” With kairos we employ the category of qualis, not quantum.” (Fr. Reardon)

We have intimations of kairos  in everyday life when “we lose track of time”, especially in an enjoyable activity like taking a walk.  Recently my wife and I went on a trail along the Maury River we had never been on.  When we came to the end of it, it had only taken chonologically less than an hour.  But it seemed more. Kairos.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf comes into the Shire, Frodo joyously welcomes him and chides Gandalf that he is late. Gandalf replied,

“A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins.  Nor is he early.  He arrives precisely when he means to.”

The Apostle Peter in his second Epistle reading for the 2nd Sunday in Advent teaches in regards to the time of the Lord’s return:

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  (2 Peter 3: 8)

The Lord will come again precisely when He means to as He did the first time, at the right time, the fulfilled time.  Kairos is God’s time. Chronos is our time. Kairos is God’s time which is eternal life.   Chronos is the date on the tombstone.  Kairos is the promise of Jesus Christ.  Advent, coming near: a blessed New Year living the Kairos Today, His Time of Salvation.

Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,

    “In a favorable time  (kairos) I listened to you,
   and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”

   Behold, now is the favorable time (kairos); behold, now is the day of salvation. (1 Corinthians 6)

(Read the whole article Chronos and Kairos by Fr. Patrick Reardon:  it’s good!)

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