Fr. Mottola's Weekly Column

​For previous weekly columns, please see the bulletins listing.

October 31st, 2021

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

End Daylight Saving Time, Grow in Holiness


        One week from today, Daylight Saving Time will end.  Some of my close friends roll their eyes at me this time each year, when I go on one of my annual diatribes against changing the clocks.  We modern people sometimes think of ourselves as computers, think that we can be simply reprogrammed like a clock that can be set backwards or forwards.  But the reality is, we get “jetlagged” when the clocks change, and the rhythms of the body get thrown off by our changed schedules of sleeping and eating (this is true especially for those taking medications).  More profoundly, although we light our homes with electric lamps, we still respond—at least subconsciously—to the rhythms of the daily rising of the sun, which to the Christians of the ancient world was always a symbol of the return of Christ at the end of time, the dawning of the new world to come.

We can use the end of daylight saving time to our spiritual advantage, if we think in terms of the rising and setting of the sun.  Next Sunday, November 7th, after 1:59am, the clocks will change to read, again, 1:00am.  Most people use this change to gain one extra hour of sleep for one day: but you can choose to use this change to develop habits of holiness!

Here’s one example of how: this Monday, November 1st (All Saint’s Day—but not a Holy Day for which there is an obligation to assist at Mass this year), daily Mass at St. James will begin at the very moment of sunrise: 7:45am.  Perhaps you may find it difficult to get out of bed and be up and about before the sun.  But next week, November 8th, sunrise will happen when your clock reads 6:54am: you have an extra 51 minutes in the morning to get ready!  Another similar example: this Thursday, November 4th, daily Mass at St. John’s is at 7:00am—49 minutes before sunrise, when it is still quite dark.  But the following Thursday, November 11th, daily Mass at St. John’s (still at 7:00am) starts two minutes after sunrise.

My proposal is simple: if we spend this week mindful of when the sun rises and sets—and make good choices about when to go to bed and practice self-discipline when our alarm goes off in the morning—we can simply continue rising at the same “sun-time” next week, and suddenly find ourselves in possession of an extra hour every morning in which to seek God by prayer.  I’ve illustrated this proposal with the example of daily Mass, but it works equally well for any other kind of prayer you might like to take up: reading a chapter of the Holy Bible each day, spending some time in quiet meditation, praying the Rosary, etc.  Many people lament how little time there is in the day, and how hard it is to find time for prayer.  Well, God has given us this hour: let us use it well!

God bless,                          Father Peter
P.S. As stated above, All Saints’ Day is not a day of obligation this year.  There will, however, be an extra Mass on November 1st: a school Mass at 9:15am at St. Ambrose.  All are welcome, but please observe posted signs concerning seating reserved for students.  Mass for All Souls’ Day, November 2nd, is at the usual Tuesday Mass time: 9:15am at St. Ambrose.