St. Paul and Jesus reported on their lives. It was as though they had just heard Socrates say, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

Tuesday, 5/22/12
There is a likeness between today’s readings. In the first reading St. Paul, in saying goodbye to the presbyters of Asia Minor, looked back on the work he had done, and he said that he had served the Lord with humility, and he never shrunk from telling the full truth.
In the Gospel, with his disciples gathered around him, Jesus was making a similar report on his work. Speaking not to the disciples, but to God, he said, “I revealed your name to those you gave me. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing to work you gave me to do.”
The example of Paul and Jesus commenting on their lives could lead each of us to look back over what we have done. It makes me think of some words of Socrates. He said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
If the unexamined life is not worth living, I have assumed the opposite must be true: there must be real value in examining one’s life. To that end I wrote a five hundred page book on my personal experiences. By examining my life I have surprised myself by seeing that I often seesawed from being liberal to being conservative. I have kept changing on all kinds of things. If nothing else, it has made me a slight bit tolerant.
With that personal life of mine all printed and bound, I have turned to examining something else: my beliefs. I am writing a book on my take on Christianity. I have found that these efforts at examining my life have made my life more worthwhile. 

Let me tell a story about the value of reviewing one’s life. On a Saturday afternoon thirty years ago I was at Amelia Island watching a great tennis match between Chris Evert and Martina Navratalova, but I had a problem: I had to prepare a homily for the evening Mass. I slipped out to the backseat of my car, and I was putting some ideas together when I heard my name on the PA system. 

I thought it was a mistake; but when it came again, I went back to the stadium. The play was stopped for a visiting man from New York who was sprawled, having some kind of fit. In his groaning and slobbering he made it clear that he wanted to go to confession.

I felt so sorry for the guy, making a display of himself before his daughter and future son-in-law, before a thousand beautifully dressed young people. I heard his confession, then checked on him in the hospital two days later.
From his sick bed the man said, “It was the most wonderful thing that could have happened. For years I have been pulling all kinds of tricks, making all kinds of money. Nothing else mattered. This has given me the chance to see where I have been, and where I have to go.”

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