Wis 18:6-9; Heb 11:1-2,8-19; Luke 12:32-48
One day in 1870, the State of Connecticut was enveloped by a mysterious darkness. The same thought came to all: the Last Day had arrived. In the House of Representatives members were heard asking for an adjournment so that they could go home and wait the Lord’s coming together with their families.
The Chairman, Colonel Davenport, made a short speech: “Either it is the day of Judgment or not. If not, there is no need for adjournment. If it were the Day of Judgment, I would rather be found doing my duty. I wish candles to be brought.”
The parable of today’s gospel focuses on the unpredictable return of Jesus and our need to be prepared for his return. He’s saying to us, “Ready or not, here I come.” Normally when we think of being ready, we usually think of being prepared for the worst that could happen: locks on the door in case of thieves, life jackets in the event of a boat accident.
Isn’t it interesting that most of us believe in preparation for many uncertainties, but not with the most important event of our lives? We carry a spare tire in our car as preparation for a flat. We have insurance in preparation for a theft, fire trucks in preparation for a fire. Airline stewards provide pre-flight instruction in preparation for turbulent weather and we seek education in preparation for a good job. Preparation in our society is a sign of wisdom. But think about this. Of all the preparations that we make for the things I just mentioned, not a single one is a certainty – yet we feel compelled to prepare ourselves for them.
The return of Jesus is a certainty. We can never know precisely when he will return or when we will die, but his return is certain. We must constantly watch, being always faithful and ready so that we may be found worthy to share in the heavenly banquet he has prepared for us. So the question of the parable is not whether or not Christ is coming again, or when he is coming, or even how he is coming. The point is about being prepared for his coming and ready to receive him whenever he comes, now or later.
In the road of life which we follow, there are many uncertainties and distractions. We don’t know where the road will take us; we don’t know when it will end. But one thing is certain. At the end of life’s journey; our Lord will be there to meet us, to welcome us into the heavenly kingdom…IF we have prepared ourselves. Preparation cannot be a “sometime” thing, but living each moment of our life for Jesus. If we can do that, we will be prepared to greet our Master whenever comes.
How can one be prepared in this matter? If you can still when Jesus talks about the last judgment, he makes it clear that this preparedness would be measured by our readiness to serve the people we meet. He said: “What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do this unto me.” We have to complete the task entrusted to us everyday and be at peace with and at the service of our neighbor now, to be ready for his second coming.
Another one is let us be faithful to the life and mission of Jesus as we await the end time, His second coming. Despite criticisms, rejection, pain and suffering, let us remain faithful to the Love of the Father as Jesus did. Let us fulfill the mission entrusted to us, that is, to proclaim God’s reign to all. God loves faithfulness and rewards those who are faithful to Him. What is faithfulness? It means keeping one’s word or palabra de honor, promise and commitment no matter how tough or difficult it gets. Faithfulness is a character trait of God and one that he expects of us.
I read a story from the homily of a priest about a happy family. One of their recreations is trying their luck in the lotto. The father would buy some tickets and gives them to his children, including their grandfather who is 85.
One day, the father bought some again. When the winning numbers were published, lo and behold, one of their ticket numbers won the jackpot of 10 million! And the ticket was in the hand of their grandpa. But here’s the rub. They were afraid to divulge the news to him because he had a weak heart and may die of excitement.
So they thought a way of breaking the news gently to him. They invited a priest-friend from the parish, instructing him about their predicament and what to do. The young priest didn’t have second thoughts accepting the invitation… thinking he would get a “balato” (share). The priest went to visit the family and later talked with the grandfather. They exchanged pleasantries, shared experiences and when the priest was about to leave, he said casually to the old man, “By the way, grandpa supposing you won the lotto and wins the jackpot prize of 10 million, what will you do with the money?”
“What, 10 million?” replied the grandfather, “That’s a big amount, Father.” “Well,” the grandpa paused for a moment then smiled, “Father, here’s what I’ll do. I’ll give 5 million to my children and grandchildren… and donate 5 million to you!” The priest was so surprised and overjoyed that he collapsed and died of heart attack!
This story illustrates how unexpected death can happen. Hence Jesus in today’s gospel reminds us to be prepared. “Be on guard,” Jesus says, “the Son of Man will come when you least expect Him,” (Luke 12:40).
The preparedness Jesus speaks of may refer to his second coming. Let us be prepared for His second coming. But in talking about the last judgment, he makes it clear that this preparedness would be measured by our readiness to serve the people we meet. We have to complete the task entrusted to us everyday and be at peace with and at the service of our neighbor now, to be ready for his second coming.
How can one be prepared in this matter? At the moment of death, the state of our soul will remain basically what it is for the rest of eternity. If we are in the state of grace, that is to say, we are in the friendship of God and we have renounced sin, which separates us from God, then we are ready to face the eternal judgment of God. But if we are in the state of sin, which separates us from God, if we have not been reconciled to God by the sincere contrition and confession of our sins, then we have much to dread at the moment of death.
How is this preparation to be undertaken? First is to keep Jesus and his teaching constantly before our eyes. We recall that, in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus returned to his disciples and found them sleeping, he warned them to “watch and pray” (Mark 14:38). He could just as easily have said, “Watch, that is, pray.” For it is only our prayerful remembrance of God’s presence among us and of the promise of the Kingdom that will protect us from the fatal distractions that lead us to live by the world’s standards and to be found unprepared when the Lord comes for us.
Second is let us be faithful to the life and words of Jesus as we await the end time, His second coming. Despite criticisms, rejection, pain and suffering, let us remain faithful to the Love of the Father as Jesus did. Let us fulfill the mission entrusted to us, that is, to proclaim God’s reign to all. God loves faithfulness and rewards those who are faithful to Him. What is faithfulness? It means keeping one word or palabra de honor, promise and commitment no matter how tough or difficult it gets. Faithfulness is a character trait of God and one that he expects of us.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C