Today is the last day of the liturgical year. At this time of the liturgical year the Church, through the daily Mass readings from scripture, focuses our attention on the last things and the end of our earthly life. Today's gospel is no exception. In this gospel Jesus gives us some very practical advice. Since we don't know when our death will occur, he tells us to live so that we are always prepared to meet God. He exhorts us to vigilance, so that death will not catch us unprepared. Jesus wants us to live lives that are marked by fidelity to his teaching and to the commandments. He wants us to know that living our lives in this way is the best way to prepare for death and to avoid being surprised by it. The reason why this message is repeated often during these days is that repetition helps us to really hear the advice of Jesus. Hearing the words of Jesus is not the problem. The problem is hearing the words in such a way that we want to immediately follow the advice of Jesus. Many of us are procrastinators. Even when we know what we should do, we often put off doing it. We have many excuses. We are too busy right now. The time is not right. In a few weeks or months I will have more time. I'll do it then. But how often do we find that the time never comes? Something always seems to interfere with our plan. Or we convince ourselves that since death is a long way off, there is no rush. We procrastinate.
Today Jesus is telling us to listen to his advice. He is asking us to really and truly confront the idea of our death. He is asking us to pray for the strength to follow his advice. He wants us to be prepared for our death whenever it comes. If we listen carefully to the words of Jesus and do as he asks, we will be better able to confront the idea of our death. And when our death approaches, we will be prepared to meet it peacefully.
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