11 Pentecost

The Rev. Noel Bordador

Calendars mark the passage of time as well as special occasions. We have national calendars that remind us of important events in the life of our nation or our countries of origin. We also keep a personal calendar to mark important dates in our personal lives and the lives of those close to us, dates such as birthdays, or anniversaries. Then we have Church calendar by which we observe the important feasts related to the life of our Lord, like Christmas or Easter. Church calendar also marks those feast days of persons who were close to the Lord, the saints. August 15, which is next Sunday, is officially in our church’s calendar, the feast of Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It commemorates not her birthday, but her "falling asleep" in the Lord, her passing away from earthly life into eternal life. In my country, it is observed with great solemnity, and it our tradition to offer prayers not only for the deceased, but we also pray that God would grant us the gift of a happy death.

People don’t like to think much or talk about death. Yet, even though it could make us feel uneasy or scared, the specter of death could also be our friend. In the retablo here at the altar, we see a picture of Saint Francis of Assisi. He once sang these words: “Praise be to you, my Lord, through Sister Death from whom no living thing can escape. Oh, how unhappy are those who die separated from the Lord! But, blessed are they who Sister Death finds doing your will. No second death could do them harm.”

In the last two weeks, I suffered the loss of two important people in my life- my foster father whose death was followed closely by that of my foster mother. Their death cause me great sorrow, but their passing away presented me once more of a very painful though equally very important opportunity to reflect upon my life. I know that one day Sister Death will find me, but the important question is, will she, in the words of Saint Francis, find me separated from the Lord, or will Sister Death find me doing the Lord’s bidding.

The Gospel today is simply a reminder for us that the day will come when we will have to make a reckoning for our lives. There will be a time when we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to account for what we have done with our lives.

Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

As I have said before in this church, our lives is not our own. Our life is on loan to us from God, and we are to make a conscious decision on how we are to live it.  Are we to live it simply for ourselves, for our own self-interest, indifferent to the concerns of others around us? Do we live our lives without any intention or focus, kind of just drifting along? Or, are we to live our lives by trying to grow in the love and knowledge of God and making a difference in the lives of others?  The Gospel today says that you have a choice by which to live your life.  The true treasures we ought to collect are not perishable material wealth which we could not bring with us into heaven. But, the true treasures we must accumulate are spiritual ones ~ those acts -great and small- acts of love, of mercy and of compassion that should characterize our lives and clothe our souls. For it is by these things by which we shall be judged to be rich at the end of our lives.

“Praise be to you, my Lord, through Sister Death from whom no living thing can escape. Oh, how unhappy are those who die separated from the Lord! But, blessed are they who Sister Death finds doing your will. No second death could do them harm.” Amen.+