June 24, 2022

Be Our Guest / Mike O’Connell

Mother’s wisdom reminds us: ‘This is not your home’

My mother used a saying that has stuck with me all these years. She would often say to me and my other seven siblings when things seemed bad: “Remember, THIS IS NOT YOUR HOME.”

I now think of this very powerful and simple statement which has kept me so well grounded. I often quote this phrase to others when they may be going through some troubling times and are trying to navigate this world: “remember, this is not your home.”

I reflect back on my life as I was growing up and how I was building up my kingdom for this world—when I say kingdom, I am speaking and referring to my status, ego, career and the material things of this world.

Then came that day when the light bulb went off and I thought about that statement my mother used to say: “Remember, THIS IS NOT YOUR HOME.” My mother is right—this isn’t our home. And if it isn’t our home, then what am I living for? I must prepare for my real destination.

As we all know, when we pass from this world we won’t be taking a whole lot with us. I remember hearing a homily one Sunday morning. The priest was talking about death and dying, and he asked, “During a funeral procession, how many of you have seen a U-Haul being pulled behind the car carting the casket?”

The Bible tells us so much about living in this world and dying to self. Jesus tells us to start living for a different world. Just think how short our life span is here in this world. If we could get a small visual glimpse of the next world, we would certainly see the awesomeness of what really awaits us, and we would know this isn’t our home.

My brother Pat once said to me, “I am going to get packed up.” I asked him what he meant, and he said, “I am going to start to get ready for my trip to the next world.” I asked him what he was going to take with him, and he said, “I am going to attend Mass and receive the holy Eucharist as often as I can. I will go to confession often, I will start serving others, I will increase my prayer life and start putting God first; that is what I will put in my suitcase.”

So when you find yourself frustrated, troubled, angry, suffering or going through trying times, remember: THIS IS NOT YOUR HOME.

(Mike O’Connell is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington.)

Local site Links: