SPANISH VERSION »
WATCH FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 21st Week of the Year, August 28, 2014
1 Cor. 1:1-9, Ps. 144, Matt. 24:42-51
Scripture quotations are from the RSV unless otherwise noted.
"Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matt. 24:42).
This is the time perspective in which we now live as Christians. We live day by day, concerned with our daily problems and can forget this deeper time perspective of hope and longing for the coming of the Lord in which we now live. Both readings today remind us of this time frame. St. Paul says, "You wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 1:7-8). And today Jesus says, "You must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44).
We will not be here forever, nor do we know when our life will end, nor when the Lord will return in power and glory on the clouds of heaven in great light to reward the righteous and punish the wicked, so we should always be prepared lest his coming or our death catch us off guard and unprepared.
How often the Scriptures tell us that we are to watch and be prepared for the coming of the Lord! Because we know that he will come but do not know when, we should always be prepared. We should be ready, repentant for our sins, and watching in prayer and good works, living for the Lord alone, reserving our heart for him, lest it become divided with worldly pleasures that deceive our senses, making us forget God. If we are in sin, even small sins or sins of thought, we should confess them and receive sacramental absolution to be clean and prepared, ready for our meeting with the Lord at our death or at his coming. If we die first, we will still see his coming on the last day, because on that day we will rise and be with him.
Even when we die, if we die in faith, hoping for him, and are prepared, we will see him as he is in his glory and will be with him. Therefore "my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better" (Phil. 1:23). So "we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8), "for we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling" (2 Cor. 5:1-2).
What you now need to do is "watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Matt. 24:42), nor do we know the day of our death. "Therefore you ... must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44). He will come suddenly, "for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man" (Matt. 24:27).
The final day is now approaching. We are therefore to leave behind the works and thoughts of darkness, and live in vigilance and hope for the coming of the Lord. "You know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now that when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day ... Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Rom. 13:11-14). "Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning" (Luke 12:35). "Set your hope fully upon the grace that is coming to you at the revealing of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:13).
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