In his last public address before dying from cancer in 1996, Joseph Cardinal Bernadin urged his flock in the Archdiocese of Chicago to live in unity with Christ and with one another, saying, “A dying person does not have time for the peripheral or the accidental. . . . To say it quite boldly, it is wrong to waste the precious gift of time given to us, as God’s chosen servants, on acrimony and division” (A Moral Vision for America, ed. John P. Langan, SJ, [Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998], 167).
We begin this season of baptismal preparation and repentance with our end in mind: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Ash Wednesday is our clarion call to stop wasting time. Now is the acceptable moment. Now is the day of salvation. Mend the relationships that need mending now. Repair the wrongs we have done now. Thus we practice the disciplines of prayer, fasting, and charity in order to realign ourselves to God and to one another.Ash Wednesday is our clarion call to stop wasting time. Now is the acceptable moment. Now is the day of salvation. Mend the relationships that need mending now. Click To Tweet
This is our Christian hope: In baptism, we have already died; therefore, let us respond to God’s gift of eternal life by making our earthly lives a clearer reflection of the divine life we already live in Christ.