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When Will He Come?
Memorial of Saints John de Brébeuf and Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so. Truly, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly. Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”
Opening Prayer: My God, I come before you seeking to know and love you more deeply. I trust you; help me deepen my trust. I want to live my life attentive to your call and presence. Lord, I ask that you help me grow in my surrender and fidelity.
- Be Prepared: Jesus is coming again, and “When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace” (CCC 682). No one knows this time, not even Jesus himself: “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36). Perhaps we look at the world and think, as James and John did, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from Heaven to consume them?” (Luke 9:54). In other words, we are tired of the destructive behaviors we see, the social unrest, and the lack of concern for the Lord’s love and mercy. It is in the face of this that we should remember the book of Esther when Mordecai said to Esther, “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this” (Esther 14:4). God chose us by name and called us to live in this time and these circumstances. By our personal holiness–our faith, hope, and charity–we can change the world for Christ.
- Faithful and Prudent: In addition to Christ’s coming in glory, we anticipate our own individual encounter with the Lord when we die: “Each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith…in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ…” (CCC 1021-1022). Being ready to “meet our Maker” requires faithfulness and prudence. It requires that we avoid complacency. When we live in expectancy and preparedness, we will be blessed.
- Entrusted with More: The saints have taught that there are varying “degrees of blessedness” in Heaven that result from how we live our earthly lives. A letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that “our charity on earth will be the measure of our sharing in God’s glory in Heaven” (Letter on Eschatology, 1979). Archbishop Fulton Sheen is often quoted as saying “There are no planes (or plateaus) in the spiritual life; we are either going uphill or coming down.” As we grow in holiness here on earth, we are expanding our capacity for union with God now and for all eternity in Heaven.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, life is so busy that it is easy to be complacent about my growth in holiness. I see others around me living so far from you that it is hard not to pat myself on the back for the little I am doing. Help me realize that there is no such thing as “settling” in the spiritual life. Give me the grace to love you and others more perfectly, all for your glory.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will identify one way in which I tend to be complacent and will find a means to combat that tendency in my life.
For Further Reflection: Watch Venerable Fulton Sheen in Wasting Your Life.
Janet McLaughlin and her husband Chris live on a mountain in rural northeastern Oregon. She puts her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies to work as she shares the beauty and importance of the lay vocation in her writing, speaking, and teaching on spiritual topics.