Living with death … Sunday, August 11

Film poster for Crocodile Dundee - Copyright 1...

OK, lets not complicate this thing.

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 12:35-40

Jesus said to his disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have the servants recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

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Have you ever considered that not one of us is exempt from the Second Coming of Christ? We all, each and every one of us, will experience it. And in more ways than one. When He returns and the resurrection of the dead takes place we’ll experience it either as someone alive to see it or as one of those brought back to life. This is one of the ways we’ll each experience His coming again. But He also comes to each of us, personally, the first time, at our baptism. It is then that we are placed in His Body, the Church. “For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body … ” 1 Corinthians 12:13a.

And He will come to each of us again at our death. No one of us knows when that hour will be. Death is almost always unexpected. No one looks forward to it, few plan for it (other than a writing up a will or doing some estate planning), and even fewer live daily lives with the end, their death, in mind. Its normal, seeing as how we weren’t originally created for death, to not want to think about it. But, reality being what it is, we need to give it some deep and honest thought.

Living with death. It’s not an anti-life proposition. It’s not doom and gloom. It’s as realistic as we can get and, as odd as this may sound, living with the knowledge that we WILL experience death at some sure point guarantees, or can guarantee if we do with it what we should, the living of a life geared to living life everlasting. If you’re Christian you know what I mean by this. If you’re not Christian and don’t understand it the Good News is that you can. Just ask your local Roman Catholic priest, or any good Catholic friend, about it.

Living a life that’s ready for death, or ready for the literal world-wide Second Coming, is what Jesus was talking about in the above scripture. Death being that point when the Master, Jesus, returns for you personally. If we live a life in which we are prepared for death we’ll be ready for Him whenever it is that He comes for us. Because He WILL come and all of us will see Him one way or the other. “Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.” Revelation 1:7. This happens, one way or another, to each of us. “Every eye” and “all the tribes”. No one gets left out. So living a life that’s a life ready for this ought to be of primary importance. But how to do that?

We tend to complicate things, or at least I do. Like the time I bought my first VCR. I read the instructions. Well, most of them. I hooked up all the wires, popped in “Crocodile Dundee”, which had just come out on VHS and was the first thing I rented so it gives you an idea how long ago this was, and … Nothing. So I figure that maybe the directions are misprinted and go about hooking up the various wires, and there were only two or three of them, in every conceivable configuration imaginable. I tried to play the movie each time and each time … Nothing. So about two hours after I bought it I ring up Wallywurld and tell the guy in electronics what I’ve done and the results I’ve gotten (Nothing). Obviously the VCR is defective so he tells me to just bring it back and they’ll give me another one. OK. Off to Wallywurld I go and two hours after I get home and have gone through the same scenario AGAIN, with NOTHING for my trouble, someone setting there watching me asks the question: “Aren’t you supposed to have the TV turned on?” *sigh*

How to live a good life, one that’s a life ready for Christ when He comes for you? Simple. You only need to do two things, just two. One is: Don’t complicate this. The other is: Follow the directions. Of course someone says, “What are they?” Or someone else says, “Well, I read my Bible and try to do what it says and that’s all I need.” What are the instructions? And remember, reading any book and understanding it are two different things. It takes a teacher to explain any textbook correctly and a teacher with no authority is no teacher at all. Only God is, in the finale analyses, THE teaching authority. “But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.” John 14:26.

Acts 2:1 And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: (Note: The ‘they” mentioned here is THE CHURCH.) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.

Leading a good life that’s ready for a good death and a happy personal Second Coming is as simple as doing the next right thing. And the very first next right thing to do is to follow Christ. The second next right thing to do is to understand who it was that He left in charge of explaining all the other next right things. And that’s His Body, the Church, guided as always by the Holy Spirit. And none of this is any more complicated than that.

~

“Think of Mother Teresa: what does the spirit of the world say of Mother Teresa? ‘Ah, Blessed Teresa is a beautiful woman, she did a lot of good things for others …’. The spirit of the world never says that the Blessed Teresa spent, every day, many hours, in adoration … Never! It reduces Christian activity to doing social good. As if Christian life was a gloss, a veneer of Christianity. The proclamation of Jesus is not a veneer: the proclamation of Jesus goes straight to the bones, heart, goes deep within and change us. And the spirit of the world does not tolerate it, will not tolerate it, and therefore, there is persecution. ” Pope Francis.

 

 

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