Common Grounds

The Evangelical Pope | Time Lies in God’s Hands

January 03, 2022

Living Words from John Paul II

Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen


Published Sunday, January 03, 2022

The Evangelical Pope | Time Lies in God’s Hands

Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.



               “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another … that together you may with one voice glorify God …” (Romans 15: 5-6).  



The Vatican, May 23, 2000 | Our ancestors measured time with the hourglass. Today, digital and quartz clocks are used. Their advantage is that they can measure time right down to the second. However, modern clocks fail to communicate a message the hourglass vividly expresses: the sand trickling from the upper bulb to the lower.


               The trickling of the sand can be compared to the fate of time. Time passes; it has an end. It flows and runs out. It is like the limited number of years we are given. 


A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 80th birthday … the festive days organized for me were an opportunity above all to thank God, my Creator, for having given me life.


               God is a generous giver:  in giving life, he also gives time. The time we have available to us is a gift from God. Managing time has much to do with faith. God has time.


               What we do with this gift depends on us. People can waste time or lose it; they can squander it or even kill it. But there are also other possibilities. Time is given to us to use it and fill it. 


               Time well used is so valuable that we can give it away as a precious gift. If the proverb says:  “Time is money,” then Christ replies:  “Time cannot be bought with money. Time is worth more than gold“. 


Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you to be generous with your time!


               Give it to each other: pastors to their parishes and parishes to their pastors; husbands to their wives and vice versa; children to their parents; young people to the elderly; the healthy to the sick; one to another. Whoever gives time to others is giving them life. 


               May unity be an essential value for you! Do not let yourselves be divided by any earthly power … My prayer for you is that what St Paul wrote to the Romans may be fulfilled:  “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another … that together you may with one voice glorify God …” (Romans 15: 5-6). 


               Once again, I return to the hourglass, which contains yet another valuable message. The sand which trickles from the upper bulb to the lower does not only indicate the passage of time. The sand is also a messenger of Christian hope, for it does not fall into a void. It is gathered in the lower bulb. 


               The bulbs of an hourglass remind me of God’s hands stretched out to us. We can abandon ourselves into his hands. They gather up our time.


               Time lies in God’s hands.


Excerpts from Message of John Paul II to Archbishop Ludwig Averkamp of Hamburg for 94rth German ‘Katholikentag’ May 23, 2000



Editor’s Note | Auld Lang Syne: “Remember the Happy Days!”


To bring in the new year, many people in the English-speaking world sing the Scottish song ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ which means: Time remembered with fondness! Remember the happy days and “Take a Cup of Kindness Yet.”


Permit me to share excerpts of Barbra Streisand’s profound words recorded in ‘Timeless,’ her album celebrating New Year 2000, “this first hour of the first morning of the first day of a new year, a new decade, a new century, a new Millennium.”


Barbra Streisand: “There’s an ancient saying: ‘when a dove flaps its wings in China, the wind current shifts for thousands of miles across mountains and seas.’


It’s just a poetic way of saying that everything we do has a ripple effect, that we’re all interconnected and have a responsibility to look out for one another and future generations.


It’s time to overcome our fears and build a world that understands.


We all want to change the world into a better place …


All we can change is ourselves a little bit a time.


As we change ourselves inside, I believe we can change the world.


I believe above the storm; the smallest prayer will still be heard. And I believe that someone in the great somewhere hears every word.”


Auld Lang Syne!


Take a cup of kindness from all of us at




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