19th Sunday OTC

Wis 18: 6-9; Heb 11: 1-2, 8-19; Lk 12: 32-48

The Indians asked their Chief in autumn, if the winter was going to be cold or not. Not really knowing an answer, the chief replies that the winter was going to be cold and that the members of the village were to collect wood to be prepared. Being a good leader, he then went to the next phone booth and called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is this winter going to be cold?” The man on the phone responded, “This winter was going to be quite cold indeed.” So the Chief went back to speed up his people to collect even more wood to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again, “Is it going to be a very cold winter?”  “Yes”, the man replied, “it’s going to be a very cold winter.” So the Chief goes back to his people and orders them to go and find every scrap of wood they can find. Two weeks later he calls the National Weather Service again: “Are you absolutely sure, that the winter is going to be very cold?” “Absolutely” the man replies, “the Indians are collecting wood like crazy!”

Dear friends! The gospel reading invites us to be watchful and be prepared. Each of us today is making his/ her own journey. It might be toward graduation from school, it might be toward marriage or toward a new career, it might be toward improved health, it might be toward retirement or it might be just a matter of trying to survive the stresses of each day. Whatever it is, time is moving us along. We are unable to stand still in life, and if we try, we’ll eventually discover that we are going backwards. We know from everyday experience that if it’s a better place we are moving toward, we need to adequately prepare ourselves for it.

In our journey through life, there is an event that we definitely need to prepare for. That is the day we are going to meet our lord, not just in prayer, not just in the sacraments, not just in the invisible ways in which he comes into our lives, but in a visible, unmistakable way at the end of life’s journey through this life. It’s a meeting most of us like to put off as long as possible and many people do not like to even think about. That’s why our Lord warns us to prepare for it, because we may tend to postpone or just put it out of our minds altogether.

Jesus uses two simple examples. The first is about the head of a household who was out of town for a wedding celebration. In Jesus’ day wedding celebrations often went on for days, so it’s understandable that the servants would not know when to expect their master’s return. The second is about a thief. Of course, a thief doesn’t warn a person before breaking into their house. If Jesus were preaching today, he might use the example of terrorism. We’re sadly familiar with the havoc it can cause and the need to be diligently on the alert. Unlike a thief or a terrorist who may be prevented from striking, Jesus’ coming is not a matter of if but of when.

The reason he warns us is not to fill us with fear, but because he loves us and he wants us to share in all the blessings he has for us. If we’re not ready, we may miss out. Most of God’s people who left Egypt started off with faith, but when the going got difficult they refused to do the things God told them and they missed out on enjoying the blessings of the Promised Land.

I am sure many people here have seen the sign which said, “Jesus is coming. Try to look busy!” Being prepared is not something we can fake or make happen at the last second. It’s the way we live our lives in faith and love. Faith and love are not superficial attitudes that have no substance. They are attitudes that guide us to live our life every day the Jesus taught us.

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). The people of Israel who waited on God, “with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith” (Wis 18:6), were rewarded with deliverance. By faith, ‘Abraham became the father of descendants as numerous as the stars’ and by the same faith, ‘Sarah received power to conceive though she was past the age’. Likewise, to each of us Christians, our faith must be the script of joy and our immortal diet. We must always have the staff of faith to walk upon. May God Bless You!