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We always begin Lent with Ash Wednesday. We receive ashes to remind us that we are all going to die. Why would we want to be reminded of that?
I knew a guy who was incredibly successful in life. Everything he touched turned to gold. I asked why everything he did was so good. He told me that in front of his bed he had a dresser that was about waist high. On the dresser was a human skull, so it was the first thing he would see when he woke up in the morning. I said to him, “Isn’t that a bit morbid?” He said, “No, because the skull talks to me. It says: ‘Once I was like you, alive, energetic, and full of dreams. Someday, sooner than you think, you will be like me.’” It reminds me that I am very blessed today, right now, at this very moment, and I am going to make the most of it.
Sparky Lyle never liked to practice pitching before a game. So someone asked him, why he didn’t warm up because he could blow out his arm. He pointing to his arm and said, “I have a limited number of strikes in that arm, I don’t want to waste them in the bullpen.”
We received ashes on our heads this past Ash Wednesday. That is what we did, but what I want we should be thinking is this: the clock is ticking. We have a limited number of days and should make the most out of them.
Art Linkletter, a talk show host in the 60’s, was interviewing some children on his show. He asked his panel, “What do you have to do to get to heaven?” The first little girl said, “You have to pray.” The second girl said, “You have to be good.” Art then asked the little boy, “And what do you think you have to do to go to heaven?” The boy answer, “You have to die.”
C. S. Lewis once said that the Christians who had the greatest impact on history are the ones who lived as if they were going to heaven. Here is an example of what you have to do to live like you are going to heaven:
I had the privilege of knowing a very successful businessman who made a lot of money. When he retired he accepted the invitation to charitable dinners, galas, and fundraisers. Once there, he would hear their story and write out a large check. One of his relatives complained, “If you keep giving at this rate, you will not have anything left.” He said, “As an old wealthy man, I now have one goal in life: to die a poor man.” Now, this is a guy who lives like he is going to heaven.
So remember during this Lent that today is a gift and you are very blessed to have it. Make the most of it.Back to All Homilies