“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Lk 21:33).
All that we know will pass away eventually because all things are finite, they are limited and material. The readings of this week repeat the same theme that we are not to place our hope and trust ultimately in the things of this world. The longer we live, the more we will experience loss, even the death of those closest to us.
The words of Jesus will not pass away because Jesus is who he proclaimed himself to be, God. He is the Logos, the Word, the very reality of God. Hearing his word is not enough though. We need to put his word into action into our lives. Once we begin to do this we will begin to bear fruit. We will become like the fig trees when their buds burst open.
Accepting the reality of death and contemplating death is not a morbid exercise when we enter this pondering with the end goal in mind that we will be one day be with God for all eternity. Also, those who contemplate their deaths more regularly live more fully now. By doing so, we don’t take our life for granted because we come to see the fragile nature of our human condition. We also come to realize that we do not know the time or hour when others or we ourselves will die.
What is and who is really important to us in our life? Dr. Leo Buscaglia, a professor at USC would give an assignment to his students. They were to really contemplate the reality that they had one week to live, and they were to come up with a list of what they would want to do for that week and who they would want to spend it with. After they turned in their assignments, Dr. Buscaglia then asked his students, “Why not live this way now? Why do you have to wait until you are dying to start living your life more fully?”
The less we push uncomfortable situations away so as to avoid them and the less we cling to wonderful experiences once they are gone, the more we will be able to fully experience life in the moment. Jesus helps us to be able to live in this way because he lives in the eternal present. We are going to die someday, so let us begin to start living now.
Jesus, help us to appreciate and experience each moment as it comes. Help us to face conflicts and deal with them instead of denying or pushing them away. Help us to be thankful for the enjoyable experiences we have had, but also help us to resist clinging to them and to the past so we can be free to experience other even more wonderful expressions of life you have planned for us. Help us to bloom where you have planted us and live our life to the full.
Photo: Enjoying the moment of Thanksgiving together as a family.