Generally speaking, that means letting go of the part of yourself that is not destined for heaven: your self-identification with your career, your accomplishments, your titles, your social group, your status, your love of comfort and of your material possessions, your expectation that you’re in control of your own life and that your time belongs to you, that kind of thing.
When the time comes for physical death, all these other kinds of “death” are also forced upon us. As death approaches, we need to be able to peacefully and willingly let go of everything we can’t take with us. This is also what is needed to become holy. That is why refusing to do it is spiritual immaturity, and why waiting until the matter is forced upon us is foolishness. Death does not always give notice that it is coming. We should always be ready for it, like the wise virgins who had enough oil for their lamps.
We become so attached to the passing things of this world that letting them go for the sake of the eternal is something that takes both will and some serious practice. To be fruitful, these little deaths must not just renounce passing things, but must do so out of love of the eternal. It is done by relying on God in the practice of penance, prayer, almsgiving, and other forms of positive self-denial, in pursuit of the virtues, and in order to put our whole selves at God’s disposal.
That is how I would interpret that homily. If I could just do it, I’d be all set. :rolleyes: