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Playing as if we’re the masters of life


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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 10/19/22

Remembering our own death puts us into perspective ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

What is vigilance? Jesus explains it with a striking and effective image:

“Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” 

Said in this way, it might seem that Jesus wants to leverage our fear of death to make us feel the anxiety of waiting, but he’s actually suggesting a way for us to live always clinging to the essentials: To make choices and live as if it were the last thing we would ever do!

This way of thinking would first of all make us realize that many things we do are a waste of time. Secondly, it would make us stop putting off what actually matters.

If we neglect vigilance, we’re thinking the same way as the wicked servant Jesus mentions in his discourse:

“But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.”

When we forget our own death, we become infected with delusions of omnipotence. Remembering our own death puts us into perspective, teaches us more humility, prompts us to come down from our pedestals, and makes us stop engaging in all those abuses of power (material, emotional, psychological, or spiritual) that we commit because we’re playing at feeling as if we were the masters of life.


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.

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