Sunday, November 23, 2014

Be Ready

This week we enter a new liturgical year. We move from considering the second coming of Christ to Advent where we are expecting the first coming of Christ. For the first Sunday of Advent we kind of conflate the two. The gospel comes from the end of Mark 13. That is Mark's apocalyptic chapter where he relates Jesus' predictions about the end times. Jesus last words tell us something about how we are to read apocalyptic scriptures. The point is not to figure out exactly what God is doing in history. Rather it is to be aware that you don't know and just be ready for anything.
Jesus said to his disciples:“Be watchful! Be alert!You do not know when the time will come.It is like a man traveling abroad.He leaves home and places his servants in charge,each with his own work,and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.Watch, therefore;you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,whether in the evening, or at midnight,or at cockcrow, or in the morning.May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”
What does the command to "Watch!" mean here? When servants don't know when a master is coming do they stare at the door so they will see the actual moment he arrives? What would be the point of that? Watching is more in the sense of watching yourself. Be alert to the fact that the master is coming and it could be anytime. You need to be ready 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During good times and bad. Eternal vigilance is the only option.

Now we are sitting here almost 2000 years later and it is hard to be too concerned with these words. Am I really supposed to order my life around the chance that Jesus could come back right now? Does that not seem like a really far-fetched possibility? 

The truth is there are two other ways Jesus can come that we have to be ready for. The first one is that we could die. That might also seem far-fetched but we actually have many examples of people who died and had little to no warning. We can't afford to play games with such a thing. We need to remain in a state of grace at all times. That is the most basic part of being ready. Don't commit mortal sin. If you do commit a mortal sin then go to confession as soon as possible. Don't put it off because we really don't know the day or the hour.

The other way Jesus can come is by touching you personally. Maybe it is at church but it could also be through someone you meet or something you read or a movie you see. Jesus can come to us anytime and anywhere. Mother Teresa had her moment on a train. We need to be ready. This kind of spiritual sleep does not cost us our salvation but it can cause us not to become all God would like us to become. What would have happened on that train if Mother Teresa was busy playing Angry Birds on her iPhone? Nothing would have happened. It is good for her and good for the world that she was switched on to God in her spirit. 

God is full of surprises. We should never assume we have God figured out. That we know what He wants from us and we just do it and that is that. We need to be about our business and not neglect anything. Still if God is not blowing you mind every now and then, then you might be missing something. 

No comments:

Post a Comment