Someone once asked my friend, “If your boat sank and you could only save one of your parents, which one would you save?” Without hesitation, she answered, “My dad.” Everyone was shocked and couldn’t believe that she would leave her mother, one of the nicest people I’d ever met, to drown and die. Everyone loved her mother, Mandy, so we had to ask, “Why wouldn’t you save your mom?” I remember her shrugging and saying, “My mom told me that she lived her life full of love and faith. She said that she’s ready to go at any time because she knows that she’s done her best.”
Wow. Can you imagine knowing that you’ve done the best in making all the right choices? I know for a fact that if God came down right now to take my life, my brain would react the same as when you have an unexpected house guest. My brain would be on high alert, throwing things in the closet, shoving things into cabinets and yelling, “Just one second” through the door. I knew I should’ve gone to Mass every Sunday. I haven’t gone to confession in years. I should’ve taught my boyfriend how to love Jesus. I shouldn’t have let them bully that kid back in 5th grade. Quite frankly, I’d be slightly terrified that I wouldn’t make it to heaven.
Today’s second reading reminds us that we will all one day, “appear before the judgement seat of Christ” and be judged for each act, good or evil. Now, I’m not saying that I believe I would go to hell, and I’m not saying that my friend’s mom has no regrets. What I’m trying to say is that she consciously lives a faithful life, everyday. It’s not just Sundays and it’s not just when it was convenient for her.
Write down the things you would regret if you died right now. Now, many of these post-mortem regrets are things you can change now. You can’t change the past, but you CAN change your future. I haven’t gone to Mass every Sunday, but I can from now on. It really had been 6 years since I’d gone to confession, but I finally felt the healing graces of the sacrament this past weekend. I should be sharing my love of Christ with my boyfriend, so I will begin talking freely about my joy and love for God. I should be standing up for what I believe in, so next time I will borrow Christ’s courage and say something.
Today’s Gospel is all about Jesus explaining the kingdom of God with a parable. The man scatters his seeds and they sprout and grow, even though “he knows not how.” I doubt that Mandy knows that my mother has often said, “I only wish I could be as holy as Mandy,” because that’s the kind of inspiration that you feel from her. I am not sure if she knows that people see her kindness, her selfless love, her compassion, her family’s love of Christ, her happiness and are inspired. Yet there are countless people, myself included, that are touched by her actions.
We should live our lives in the same way so that our faith inspires others to live faithfully as we do. We should live out our faith in a way that inspires people to show their kindness, their selfless love, their compassion, and their love of Christ in everything we do. In fact, I think Diocesan’s motto defines exactly how we should live: Catholic Life Every Day.
(Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.)
Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Michigan. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various articles in the Catholic Diocese of Austin’s official newspaper, the Catholic Spirit, and other local publications. She now works as the Content Specialist in Diocesan’s Web Department.