Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your time is almost up.... are you ready???

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25:1-13.
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.'
While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'
But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Most of us do not want to think about death even though it happens just about every day to someone in our local community... a suicide, a murder, a car accident, cancer or a serious illness, drinking and driving, death as a result of an accident. We go to a funeral and think about what their life was like... but, sadly, must of us are not prepared for our own death and we should be.

None of us can escape it. We can't run away or hide from it. Eventually DEATH will come knocking on our own door and we do not know the day nor the hour when it will happen, but it will come. In fact, it may come for you in just a few minutes.

Our Lord asks us to be prepared like the wise virgins who kept their lamps burning, in waiting for the Bridegroom to come. This is in reference to the Light and grace God has given to each of us as His children in our Baptism. In fact, your parents and godparents held your baptismal candle which was lit from the Easter Candle when they heard the words:

"Receive the light of Christ. Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He/she is to walk always as a child of the light. May he/she keep the flame of faith alive in his/her heart. When the Lord comes, may he/she go out to meet Him with all the saints in the heavenly Kingdom."

Most of us are so caught up in this world in all the parties and sports, the gambling and drinking... the fooling around and acts of impurity that we do not make room for God on Sundays or Holy Days by going to Mass nor follow Him in our daily life. We are like the foolish virgins who let their light die out and all that remained was darkness and they found themselves locked out of the Heavenly Banquet where the Bridegroom's only reply was "I DO NOT KNOW YOU."

"I DO NOT KNOW YOU." This reply could come if we do not take time to pray daily and open our hearts to Him... if we make excuses on the Lord's Day and make other things like hunting, fishing, camping, sporting events, or trips more important than making time to be with Him... if we do not take time to follow Him by reading the Gospels and putting into action what He asks of us as His disciples... or if we do not take the time of day to care for Him and His needs in the least of our brothers and sisters: "For I was hungry and you gave Me no food. I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink. I was naked and you did not clothe Me... in prison and sick and you did not visit Me."

I have already had several brushes with death in my own life and I do not want to postpone my travel arrangements with Our Lord any longer. I want to be ready with my bags packed. I want to leave you with the word of Thomas A'Kempis from his famous work "The Imitation of Christ" to help us be prepared...

VERY soon your life here will end; consider, then, what may be in store for you elsewhere. Today we live; tomorrow we die and are quickly forgotten. Oh, the dullness and hardness of a heart which looks only to the present instead of preparing for that which is to come!

Therefore, in every deed and every thought, act as though you were to die this very day. If you had a good conscience you would not fear death very much. It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you are not prepared today, how will you be prepared tomorrow?..

What good is it to live a long life when we amend that life so little? ... Blessed is he who keeps the moment of death ever before his eyes and prepares for it every day.

If you have ever seen a man die, remember that you, too, must go the same way. In the morning consider that you may not live till the evening, and when evening comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn. Be always ready, therefore, and so live that death will never take you unprepared. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly, for in the unexpected hour the Son of God will come. When that last moment arrives you will begin to have quite a different opinion of the life that is now entirely past and you will regret very much that you were so careless and remiss.

How happy and prudent is he who tries not in life to be what he wants to be found in death...

The present is very precious; these are the days of salvation; now is the acceptable time. How sad that you do not spend the time in which you might purchase everlasting life in a better way. The time will come when you will want just one day, just one hour in which to make amends, and do you know whether you will obtain it?

See, then, dearly beloved, the great danger from which you can free yourself and the great fear from which you can be saved, if only you will always be wary and mindful of death. Try now to live in such a manner that at the moment of death you may be glad rather than fearful. Learn to die to the world now, that then you may begin to live with Christ. Learn to spurn all things now, that then you may freely go to Him....

Ah, foolish man, why do you plan to live long when you are not sure of living even a day? How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched away!... Death is the end of everyone and the life of man quickly passes away like a shadow...

Do now, beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourselves the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Make friends for yourself now by honoring the saints of God, by imitating their actions, so that when you depart from this life they may receive you into everlasting dwellings...


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