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.”
It is absolutely true that vigilance and perseverance are essential dispositions for us to have in our Life with the Cross, and these are the very dispositions that Jesus is imploring His disciples to practice at all times. In that regard, there are two very important points that this parable raises. The first point concerns how we ought we to prepare ourselves for the Coming of Christ Jesus. The second, which I discuss separately in a sister article, concerns how we ought to Prepare Ourselves Against the Coming of Satan.
The first point contained here begins with a question: What does it mean that, “If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming”? This statement is almost hyperbole; for, how often does anyone know what hour a thief is coming to break into their home? Moreover, what does it matter whether or not we know the hour that the thief is coming if we cannot prevent him from coming?
Essentially, being prepared for the thief is to cause us to take a defensive posture. In such a posture we do just enough to protect what we have from being stolen. What such a posture does not imply that we must stay at home and safeguard our possessions. That is not what being prepared for the coming of Christ is all about, and neither is Christ Jesus in this parable commanding his disciples to merely stay at home to watch for His return. On the contrary, being prepared as a Christian is all about leaving home as Christ Himself left home to give away His life for the benefit of others. In other words, we prepare for the coming of Christ by losing our life and all of our possessions for His sake and for the sake of neighbor. That is why we attend the Mass (Latin: missa; meaning ‘sending away’) so that we can be sent out with/in the Body of Christ.
Therefore, it is by imitating the sacrifice of Christ in carrying our own cross to our own Mount Calvary, that we prepare for the coming of Christ in every way that He comes to us (e.g. in the Holy Eucharist, in the Priest, in Scripture, in neighbor, in self, and in everyday situations). That is to say, that when we live our life with the intention of losing it all so that we might gain all in Christ, we position ourselves to be vessels of reception to whatever God has prepared for us to receive.
To be sure, there is a simultaneous preparation taking place between the creation-being-made-holy with the Creator-who-is-Holy who became man. That is, as we prepare ourselves to receive Him, He is simultaneously preparing us to receive Him more fully. And as we progress along the way to our own Mt. Calvary we continually receive Him more worthily; for along the way we are being made more and more holy – more like Him. The more we are like Him the more that we are In Him.
Therefore, the call of Mass in this regard is for us to reject every demonic suggestion that you just sit on your butt and let God do all the work or that you can just stay at home until the ‘Second Coming’. Rather, embrace being sent out with the gifts that God has given you to share with others and for the benefit of the Body of Christ, because the only way to be prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ is to live in Christ. “As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world” (John 17:18).
Lord Jesus, you sent me as your Father sent you.
Therefore, open my eyes to see the doors that you want me to walk through;
open my ears to hear the things that you want me to hear;
prepare my feet for my own journey to my own Mount Calvary;
and open my mouth only to say those things that you give me to say.
PSALMS 124:1B-3, 4-6, 7-8
Had not the LORD been with us,
let Israel say, had not the LORD been with us–
When men rose up against us,
then would they have swallowed us alive;
When their fury was inflamed against us.
Then would the waters have overwhelmed us;
The torrent would have swept over us;
over us then would have swept the raging waters.
Blessed be the LORD, who did not leave us
a prey to their teeth.
We were rescued like a bird
from the fowlers’ snare;
Broken was the snare,
and we were freed.
Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.