Are you ready? No, that’s not a question about whether or not you have all your Christmas shopping done. Are you ready to meet Christ? While Christmas is still weeks away, the Gospel readings in Advent remind us of the need for repentance, because Christ will come at an hour we do not expect.
And while during Advent we prepare for Christ’s coming at Christmas as well as His Second Coming, we must also be prepared to meet Christ at the moment of our death. This week on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick announced the sudden passing of the Most Rev. Paul Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth, who suffered a fatal heart attack on the First Sunday of Advent. Bishop Sirba was ordained as a bishop on December 14 2009, and was only 59 years old at his passing.
Speaking of the faithful of the Diocese of Duluth, Patrick said, “Our hearts go out to them. And we certainly are praying for the repose of the soul of Bishop Sirba. So please do remember him in your prayers today and tomorrow and the day after. But for you personally, you may say, ‘Okay, well, that’s interesting’ and you move on.”
But Patrick pointed out that Bishop Sirba’s sudden passing, combined with the Gospel reading on the day of his death, should be a wake-up call to us, and a reminder to examine whether or not we are ready if the Lord calls us today.
“I pray that you have a long and happy life,” Patrick said. “Many years from now, may your time to leave this earth come. But since none of us knows exactly when that’s going to happen, and since you don’t know, perhaps this day is the last day of your life. I know it’s a morbid sort of a topic, but Jesus talked about that all the time. He talked about the need for repentance, and the need for being ready. Watch and pray, He said.”
“Always be ready. Always be ready to go. Ask yourself this question right now, in light of the untimely death of Bishop Sirba.”
Patrick asked listeners to take a moment to really look at their lives and the state of their souls. He asked, “Are you ready to go if God were to call you right now? Are you ready? To be ready, in its most fundamental form, means to be in the state of grace. Thankfully, Jesus established the sacrament of Confession, sometimes called Reconciliation, for this purpose.”
And while the sacrament of Confession offers hope, mercy, and forgiveness, we have to actually frequent the sacrament in order to receive it. Putting off going to Confession may not seem like a big deal, but in reality it could have eternal consequences.
“How long has it been since your last Confession? Do you have any serious sins on your soul?” Patrick asked. “The Bible talks about mortal sin. … and that’s what will send somebody to hell. If he or she dies in the state of intentional, willful, stubborn, unrepentant, unwillingness to be reconciled with God. And if it should happen that death catches that person unawares, the person goes to hell.”
While this kind of talk can seem very fire and brimstone, Patrick pointed out that his intention is not to make listeners afraid that they could die at any moment. Just the opposite, in fact. Christ has defeated death, and won for us eternal life. So if we are in union with Him and in a state of grace, death is not something that we should fear at all.
“My point is not to ruin your day or make you feel depressed or anything, but just to give you that hope and encouragement that if you are in the state of grace, you will be ready to go,” Patrick said. “And it’s easy to do. Go to Confession. So that’s just a thought as we consider the somber news of the death of Bishop Sirba. May he rest in peace.”
Please join us in praying for Bishop Paul Sirba and the faithful of the Diocese of Duluth as they mourn the loss of their shepherd. Eternal rest grant unto Bishop Sirba, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Listen to the full reflection below: