The Greeks had two words for time, chronos for chronological
time (clock and calendar time) and kairos for the “right” or
“opportune” time. Jesus often made the distinction to his disciples,
who thought more in terms of chronological time than of
God’s time. When Peter first declared his intent to the Lord, it
was not yet time; the kairos moment—God’s time—did not
come until Peter had witnessed to the truth of the gospel in
When the Jews celebrate Passover, the celebration begins
with a question: “Why is this night different?” In this way they
enter into God’s time—when God intervened, did something to
change the very course of history. On the night before he died,
Jesus took bread and wine and declared it his body and blood.
“Do this in memory of me.” Once again it was kairos time, God’s
time, just as it is every time we interrupt the daily grind of
chronological time to enter God’s time in the Mass.
Everything happens when God wants it to happen. Following
Christ is a matter of surrendering to God’s time, of leaving
behind our own plans in order to be led by Christ. Our goals and
plans are always secondary to what God intends for us.