33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 17, 2013 7:30 and 9:00am
Saint Margaret Parish, Bel Air
Someday Is Now
Recently I read a story about a man whose wife had just died.
This man opened the bottom drawer of his wife’s bureau and pulled out a tissue-wrapped package. He unfolded it and showed his sister-in-law, his wife’s sister, a beautiful silk and lace slip.
He said, “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, about eight years ago. She never wore it.
“She was saving it for a special occasion. I guess this is the occasion.”
He then placed the slip on the bed with the other clothes they would bring to the funeral home. Then he said to his sister-in-law, “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion; every day is a special occasion.”
Jan’s sister remembered these words. She kept thinking about the things her sister hadn’t done and about all the things she had done without realizing they were special.
The words of her brother-in-law began to have a real impact on her. She writes, “I’m reading more and dusting less.
“I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings.
“We use our good china and crystal for every event, like after getting the sink unstopped. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter or luster to our lives.
“And every moment I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath…is a gift of God.”
The Gospel and Now
This widowed man and his sister-in-law express the same point Jesus is making in today’s gospel.
Jesus talks about a time when all kinds of threatening things will happen. But Jesus is not trying to get us to focus on that future end-time or to live with fear and gloom.
Instead, he is trying to get us to focus on the present. He wants us to live with love and hope right now.
In other words, yes, someday there will be an end-time. Someday we will pass on from this earth, as Jan did in the story.
Jesus wants us to be ready for that by seeing that today is special. He wants us to is to live the present, to live today well and that is the way to be ready for the future.
How to Make Today Special?
This past week I asked myself: what might help us to do this?
I came up with three questions. I am thinking that if we ask ourselves these questions every day, that will help us to make each day special and live the present well.
First, who are the most important persons in my life? Did I do something good for one of them today?
Did you express your love in some way for your spouse or close friend, or did you spend time with your son or daughter? Did I take the initiative to be thoughtful of a co-worker or a neighbor?
Second, am I at odds with anyone? Is there a relationship that is ruptured?
Did I think about it today and consider if there is something I could do to get reconciliation? Can I let go of my pride and ask for forgiveness, or let go of my hurt and give the forgiveness?
And third, did I intentionally spend some time with God today? Did I reserve a few minutes just to be quiet and aware of God’s presence?
Did I pray some prayer that I know by heart or speak to God in my own words? Did I read a few verses of the gospel to see what Jesus might be saying to me personally?
So I recommend asking these three questions each day.
1) Did I do something good for someone important in my life?
2) Did I consider what I could do to get reconciled with someone?
3) And did I spend some time with God?
Our asking these three questions will help us to make today special and to live the present well, and this is the best way to prepare for the future.