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I’ve known several people in the last three years who were told by their doctors they were terminally ill. In each case, these folks immediately made decisions about their lives that they’d been delaying until now. People who know they’re dying can’t afford to save anything until later. There may not be a “later”. There’s only now. The rest of us are kidding ourselves if we think we’re not dying: not now, not any time soon, maybe never. When Jesus says, “Be watchful!”, we think he means the other guy. We put our faith squarely in “later”. Some of us belong to the Church of Later, in which we fully intend to be good, spiritual, faithful people – at a future time to be announced. Some of us may live to a satisfying old age and wear out with a smile. Some of us will get a deadline from our doctors and have some lead time to prepare. Many of us are left in the dark as to when we’ll die or how. This can make us sloppy about the way we live, even arrogant about it. Not taking death seriously is a real mistake in the spiritual life. The church’s wisdom is to remind us, right from the start of the church year, that mortality is just what it says it is: a short-term proposition. Resolve to live this Advent season with watchfulness and attention. Miss no opportunity to be kind, generous, forgiving. Resist spiritual laziness with its shrug toward “later”. Be a saint in the making right now.

(GPBS eNews)

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