Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
ďRejoice, O young man, while you are young and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.Ē
Carpe Diem. Seize the Day. The days of our youth do not last forever, so we should take advantage of our youth before we grow old. I donít think Iím all that old yet, although when I was young I thought people who were the age I am now were ancient. But I can still feel it. My back hurts. Iím getting some gray in my hair. Looking back now, I guess I should have appreciated it more, twenty years ago, when I could eat anything, when I could stay up all night. I thought time would never catch up with me. But everything changes. Itís autumn now. As Iím writing this, itís the first cool night of fall. And I love fall, but as much as I love fall and coming back to school, I miss the more carefree warm days of summer. Itís so easy to say, I wish Iíd gone to the beach when I had time off, or I wish Iíd spent more time outside while the weather was good. Iím not willing to say Iím in the autumn of my life, but Iím definitely deep into the summer. The lesson in the first reading is to take advantage of your youth before youíre old and itís too late. Then it goes beyond that Ė appreciate your life before youíre dead and itís too late. The psalm emphasizes that idea, that all men will again become dust. We should live fully in our time here on earth because that time will not last forever.
This message should not be seen as hedonistic however. ďYet understand that as regards all this God will bring you to judgment.Ē We should enjoy our youth, because we will soon be old. We should enjoy our lives because they will not last forever. But we should be aware of our own mortality beyond that. When we are gone it will be too late to do anything else here on earth Ė including good works and including repentance. We should use whatever time we have to thank God for our lives and for our youth Ė however young we are. I know Iím making a point to enjoy this time in my life. I certainly wouldnít want to be twenty again, but I want to do things I can do now that I maybe could not do when Iím eighty. And since none of us knows if weíll make it to eighty, we need to do what we can now, and live the kind of life we should so weíre ready to go whenever that time comes.
In the gospel Jesus is telling his disciples something similar. He is telling them that he will not always be here on earth with them. The verses surrounding the reading for today talk about people asking Jesus for help. And as Jesus gives it, he says that he will not always be here on earth to do such things, so he needs to do them now. He tells his friends that they will not always be able to sit and talk with him as they have been, and that they should take advantage of this opportunity while they have it. They donít understand. And we donít always understand. Itís too easy to take the world for granted but we need to enjoy the time we have and make the best use of it because it will not last forever.
Enjoy life to the fullest by doing what is right. Carpe Diem.
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