“I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” (Acts 20:26-27)
Both our First Reading and Gospel passage today are set in a tone of departure; Paul is leaving the region of Asia and he is giving a Farewell Speech. Jesus nearing the time of his arrest and knowing his time to return to the father was close said a prayer of departure.
In truth, whatever has a beginning must have an end. It is a matter of wisdom to always keep the end in view. We are not born to live in this world forever. Moreover, a fulfilled life is not measured by the number of one’s days but the quality of those days.
As a minister, a father, a mentor, a teacher etc., can I say like St. Paul that I am innocent of the blood of my congregation, my children, my employees, or those under my care? Can I beat my chest to say that I never led any one of these little ones astray?
Ordinarily, death is something very good; a moment to look forward to as it affords us the opportunity to enter into the arms of the true love of our lives. Death gives us the chance to experience true bliss safe in the presence of God who made us.
However, we dread the very thought of death, we hate to hear about death and we even consider it a bad omen to dream about death or see a dead body. Why are we so scared of death? Simple answer: The quality of our lives – Regrets for not living well or not having accomplished enough.
Paul was not afraid to die, he said: “you will see my face no more.” At only 33 years old, Jesus prayed: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do… I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world…” Jesus died young but having completed his assignment on earth, his few years are the definition of ripe old age.
Imagine you died but God gave you a second chance to return to this world. How would you live your life? Let your answer guide your life from this moment. The best time to die is not necessarily at old age, it is when your time comes; when you have finished the race and fought the good fight. Stop procrastinating. Just begin!
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle in us your Sacred Fire. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 20:17-27, Psalm 68 and John 17:1-11).