The following reflection is by Triona Doherty
The 2007 film 'The Bucket List' starred Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson as two terminally ill men who put together a wishlist of things to do before they 'kick the bucket'. They do a skydive, get tattoos, visit the pyramids. Several of the items on the to-do list are more abstract - witness something truly majestic; help a complete stranger for the good; find the joy in your life.
We often hear the advice that we should live each day as if it's our last. Of course we would live very differently if we knew our own days are numbered, or if it was our last day on earth. Likewise we would treat a family member, friend, or colleague differently if we knew they were to be struck by illness or accident. Sometimes it is only when the fragility of life is laid bare that we manage to get our priorities in order. Yet living differently is exactly what today's readings demand of us.They set the tone for the period of preparation that is Advent. The Gospel of Matthew uses the metaphor of the thief in the night to highlight the unexpected nature of the second coming of Jesus. Naturally we would be well prepared if we knew when a burglar would strike our home! The flood took Noah's contemporaries by surprise as they went about day to day life - eating, drinking, and marrying. 'So too will be the coming of the Son of Man'. St Paul gives us a lovely image in today's Second Reading: 'Put on the armour of light. Live differently. Stay awake. Be prepared'.