Today’s post is an inspiring message from Fr. Michael Schleupner. This seems to be a lesson that most took to heart during the pandemic, but as life has returned to normal, our value of the present moment may get buried in the busyness of our schedules. This may be just the refreshing message we all need! Please take a few quiet moments to read and reflect.
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And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” And he said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.
Someday Is Now
Some years ago, I read a story from a magazine called Spirituality and Health. It is about a man whose wife, Jan, had just died. He and his sister-in-law, his wife’s sister, were selecting clothes for his wife’s funeral.
He 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 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 that 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 all the things she herself had done without realizing they were special. The words of her brother-in-law began to have a real impact on her.
She writes this: “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 dishes 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 he is not trying to get us to focus on that future end-time and to live with anxiety and fear and gloom. Instead, he is trying to get us to focus on the present. And he wants us to be aware of the present moment, to make the present special, to appreciate the here and now.
In other words, yes, someday there will be an end-time. Someday we will pass on from this earth. But Jesus wants us to be ready for that by being aware that today is special. He wants us to make the present moment special, to live today well, and that is the way to be ready for the future.
Making Now Special
I want to propose two ways to help us make the present moment, the now special.
First, each day do something good for one person important in our life. Maybe it will be asking your husband or wife or close friend what their day was like and really meaning it. Maybe it will be a text message or phone call to our parents or children, just to let them know you are thinking about them. Maybe it will be sending a note to a family member or friend with whom we have lost contact.
And second, each day spend some time with God. Reserve a few minutes just to be quiet and aware of God’s presence. Pray some prayer that we know by heart or speak to God in our own words. Allow this quiet time to put us in touch with our need to slow down and be aware and alert and awake to the present moment.
So, the takeaway this morning: two ways to help us make today, the now special:
1. Each day do something good for one person important in our life.
2. And each day spend some time with God.
That’s the way God wants us to live in the present. And that will also be the best way to prepare for the future.
~ Fr. Michael Schleupner
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