“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Lk 21:33).
All that exists and 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 mediate and ponder his words, put his words into action and practice in our lives. In so doing, Jesus becomes one with us in our humanity and we, one with him in his divinity. In God’s time, we will begin to bear fruit. We will become like the fig trees when their buds burst open.
Momento Mori is the Latin phrase that means, remember you will die. Accepting the reality of death and contemplating on our deaths 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 and who is really important to you in your life? Dr. Leo Buscaglia was a professor at USC and while he was still alive he assigned his students this proposition. Each of his pupils were to imagine 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 with whom 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 to avoid them and the less we cling to wonderful experiences once they are gone, the more we will be able to fully experience the gift of our lives in the moment. Jesus helps us 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, please help us to appreciate and experience each moment as it comes. Help us to resist denying or putting off conflicts and instead embrace and grow through them. Help us to be thankful for our enjoyable experiences, to look back and enjoy them from time to time, yet also resist clinging to them and to the past so that we can be free to experience even more wonderful expressions of life you have planned for us. Help us to bloom where we have been planted and to lives our life to the full.
Photo: Sometimes knowing the time we have left can be a blessing. Enjoying our final two months together with JoAnn, July 4th weekend, 2019. Swan boat ride on Echo Lake in, LA.