Thursday, November 10, 2016

Today, Not Tomorrow

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.  Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:  they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.  So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.  (Luke 17:26-30)

Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.  (Luke 21:28)

Gone with the Wind was my favorite book for years, from junior high until I got out of school.  When finals rolled around and my stress levels ran off the charts, that’s the book I reached for.  Why I derived such comfort from it is a mystery to me today.

What I do remember vividly are Scarlett O’Hara’s famous lines: “I’ll think of it tomorrow” and “After all, tomorrow is another day.”  Maybe I admired her ability to pick herself up from one calamity after another and go on.

Today, however, I look at it a little differently.  Apart from the Civil War, many of the disasters that befell Scarlett were of her own making, by-products of her willfulness, self-centeredness, and manipulation of others.  Tomorrows aren’t in endless supply, so why not have taken the time to straighten her life out once and for all?  But, then, I didn’t write the book.

I’ll think about it tomorrow or someday is all too familiar a modus operandi for many of us.  Jesus’ message in today’s Gospel is a reminder that life on earth isn’t forever.  It has a distinct beginning and a definite end.  You and I have no way of knowing how many tomorrows or somedays we have before we reach the last one.

I knew someone once who was working day and night to amass enough money to retire at 50.  He said then he would be able to relax and spend time with his family.  How foolish!  The pace he had set for himself could well have kept him from ever reaching 50.  Even if his plan worked out, it was bound to fail, because, by the time he was 50, his children would have become adults and left the nest.  No one would care if he was free to spend time with them.  He would have long become a stranger in his own home.  If you love your family, spend time with them now.  Create loving bonds today.

If there’s someone from whom you’re estranged, mend fences before the sun sets today.  It’s the only time you know for sure you have.

If you’re going through life weighed down by sin, throw yourself on Jesus’ mercy.  Don’t wait another minute.  The Lord is waiting with open arms to welcome you home.  Who knows whether you’ll have another day.

Don’t fool yourself.  There’s no such thing as an endless stream of tomorrows.  Live each day as if it were your last one, because maybe it will turn out to be.

Do whatever you need to do to ensure that if today were the day Jesus called you home, you would have no regrets.

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