Fr. Gerard Sauer had an awesome homily on the feast of Pentecost that I’ll riff on today…
Have you ever heard someone in a hospital say when a patient dies that they “expired?”
It bothered Fr Sauer when he worked at a hospital run by the Salvation Army as a young man. Expired?—what have we become? A quart of milk?
But the medical profession got it right, claimed Fr Gerard. After all what does the word itself mean?
At birth, or more importantly, at Baptism, we are “inspired”. The spirit comes to live within our very selves. God uniting with us sacramentally. The spirit comes into our very being–we are in-spired.
So when we die we become expired. The spirit leaves our body and goes to be with God. More importantly, we should have expended our efforts at sharing this spirit throughout our lives that perhaps we have nothing more to give. The spirit’s work is done and we now can expire. We’re done and the spirit can rest easy at a job well done.
The disciples were men of inspiration but they died full expired. The poured the Holy Spirit out upon all they met and many who died a martyrs death inspired others and in this expiration of spirit, in giving of their very selves–they inspire the world–filling it with the Holy Spirit.
What inspires you? What brings you into thinking about Jesus more intimately. At the close of our lives will we be willing to expire–to give our spirit back to God? Or do we cling to craving more inspiration?
After being with numerous people on their deathbeds, I can tell you, people answer this in a variety of ways, depending on their experience and their consciences. Some long for expiration, and they live as best they can with a forward thinking vision. My own mother when she thought she was going to die at one point in her life once said: “I’m finally going to see my father again.” A touching statement to her “Pop” who she often dreams about and remembers fondly. Others however, cling to life angrily—feeling cheated. Hoping for more time to make amends–to set things right. To “inspire” others and to seek inspiration for themselves.
How do you hope to expire–when that great day makes it’s way into your life?