Mar 8, 2018
There is a time to be born and a time to die….Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2.
In Lent at the beginning of Mass we chant, “Now is the acceptable time” to ready ourselves for departure from this world. As St. Matthew reminds us “Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42) St. Paul writes, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” We do not want to die unprepared.
St. John Chrysostom advises us to busy ourselves with preparations for our departure and to aspire to a holy and blessed death. We want to live in blessed hope that at the moment of our death God will judge us honestly and mercifully. If we live our lives in such a way that we are always ready to die and to meet Christ than there is no need to fear.
Fr. Anthony Paone, SJ, reminds us that “if we have done our best to follow Christ’s commandments we shall be rewarded with the perfect life in heaven. If, however, we have disregarded His loving directions and refused to make use of His generous help, we shall be condemned to hell.”
Heaven is our goal and our ultimate home. St. Paul tries to describe what awaits those who remain faithful to God. “no eye has seen nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has ready for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
During Lent we are reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are asked to be “eternity minded”. To repent and to put our lives in order as though we were to die before the day is over. St. Paul exhorts us to work out our salvation in fear and trembling if we are to reach our ultimate home.