“The Confessions of St. Augustine,” is a fascinating read into the life of one of our greatest saints. It is his autobiography, the story of his life before his conversion, the events surrounding the moment of his conversion, and the beginning of his blessed new life after his conversion. His writings are extensive and many of them, to this day, serve as the foundations of several aspects of our Catholic Theology.
“The Confessions,” though, is more than his autobiography. After he tells his story, the book moves into different areas of philosophical thought concerning common aspects of life—like time. He points out that most of us think of time as past, present and future but, in reality, there is only one time. The past is gone and the future does not yet exist. There is only the Present.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the three aspects of time to teach us something about the end of all time when everything in heaven and on earth pass into the timeless realm of eternity. Christ uses the past experiences of the fig tree and the transition of seasons to show how we know, expectantly, what the future holds in store for us. Each day of the annual cycle of seasons contains expectations for the coming days. Those expectations are based on our past experiences with many annual cycles. The more cycles we live through, the more precise our expectations become—or so it may seem. There are always surprises.
Jesus’ final statement, though, reflects the wise philosophical thought of St. Augustine. Our past experiences no longer exist and neither do our future expectations. “But of that day or hour, no one knows.” Don’t worry about it. Be prepared by living fully in the Present. It is the only time that counts.