Pope: Realizing today may be one’s last day can change life

A person watches the sunset above a sea of fog on the summit of Chaux Ronde in Gryon, Switzerland. (CNS photo/Anthony Anex, EPA)

VATICAN CITY—It is not morbid to start each day understanding that it may be one’s last, Pope Francis said.

Death is a reality that will come to everyone — for some as a sudden surprise, for others as an end to an illness — but in every case, Jesus will say, “Come with me,” the pope said Nov. 17 in his homily at Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

November is a month of remembrance of the deceased and reflection about God’s kingdom and eternal life. It is one way the church asks the faithful to reflect on death because, he said, it is easy to get caught up in daily work or school and social routines and think “it will always be this way.”

The church and the Lord “say to each one of us, ‘Stop, hold on. It won’t be like this every day. Don’t get accustomed as if this were eternity,'” he said.

It does people good to recognize they will not be on this earth forever, he said. For example, one could start the day reasoning, “Perhaps today will be my last day, I don’t know, but I will do a good job” at work, at home, with others.

“To think about death is not a terrible reverie, it’s reality. If it’s terrible or not depends on me, what I think about it, but whether it will be, it will be,” Pope Francis said.

One’s dying day also “will be the encounter with the Lord — this will be what is beautiful about death, it will be the encounter with the Lord, he will be the one who comes, he will say, ‘Come, come, blessed by my father, come with me.'”

The pope said people still need to live their lives, do what needs to be done, but always look ahead to that day when “the Lord will come to get me and go with him.”

By Carol Glatz / Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Anthony Anex, EPA: A person watches the sunset above a sea of fog on the summit of Chaux Ronde in Gryon, Switzerland, Oct. 5, 2016.