Today’s readings can be found here.
We have a foolproof technique for not reflecting about the fact that we are only passing through life on this earth: not thinking in any way about death. One thinker theorized that most of life is an attempt to exorcize the fear of death and the anguish it produces.
Today’s Gospel, on the other hand, seems to put all the cards on the table and bring to light what we would like to hide in the cellar of our unconscious:
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
It’s obvious that Jesus isn’t asking us to be evangelized by the fear of death, but rather to remember death in order to live our lives with “preparedness,” that is, enjoying and living everything as a unique and intense experience, without letting our guard down.
In fact, when we forget about death, we live with a delusion of omnipotence that leads us to trample everything and everyone. But if we only were to remember that each and every one of us will die on a day unknown to us, then we would trust less in the place we occupy, the titles we boast, the possessions we accumulate, and the resentment we harbor.
The memory of death puts us in our place.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.