Earlier this week, I arrived at work to learn that three of my coworkers had died in an automobile accident, and two others were in the hospital. The van they were traveling in left the road in icy conditions, turned on its side, slid across the median, and was hit by a semi trailer traveling in the opposite direction. Along with everyone else in the office, I was filled with shock.
We are told throughout Advent that the coming or our Lord is immanent. In the first week of Advent, we were told by Christ himself, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. . . What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’ (Mark 13:33-37)” The message seems obvious; we must always be ready to face our judgment.
The three men who died illustrated that point perfectly. One was a 61 year old grandfather nearing the end of his career and looking forward to retirement. One was a 45 year old man in the middle of his career. The third was a young man of 23 years, just out of college and beginning his career. None of the three expected their life to end on Tuesday. I can only pray that when death came, they were ready.
And, I can only pray that I will be ready, should my death come unannounced. I know that there are things I can do to prepare myself. In modern parlance, I must keep my fundamental option properly directed toward God. Love is central to that – love of God and love of neighbor.