A sense of urgency is reflected in all of today's readings. Jonah warns the Ninevites, "Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed." Paul reminds the Corinthians that "time is running out." Jesus proclaims that "this is the time of fulfillment." There is no denying that we humans tend to respond more readily to an urgent request; we seem to be much more motivated by something that must be done right now. This tendency makes it all too easy to put off less urgent things: "Oh, we've got time for that later."
For the people in Jonah's day, for the people of Jesus' time and Paul's time, the end was believed to be imminent. The words of the prophets and reformers frequently tried to evoke a sense of urgency. We don't know, of course, how much time we have as individuals or as nations to reform our ways, but it's safe to say that there's less time left today than there was yesterday. Today's readings may be inviting us to revise our priorities.
January 31st we celebrate the feast of San Juan Bosco. St. John Pablo II called him the "father and teacher of youth". "On this occasion I have permitted myself to write these lines with much love especially to the youth of our parish. Many qualities and virtues are displayed in this saint. One of them is joy. With his joy and simplicity he made things seem easy and natural when it was really difficult and supernatural. When he joked with his youth, and when he spoke of things serious or when he prayed, Don Bosco gave color to life and spread joy. These occurrences were filled with acuity and humor. Even in his death bed, humor was not lost: Viglietti, a priest who collaborated with him, when Don Bosco would ask for a bit of iced coffee, he would then say then say but be sure it is very hot".