The last of Jesus’ “five great discourses” in the Gospel of Matthew (24:36—25:46) has to do with the “end-time.” After finishing his work of salvation on earth, Jesus has returned to the Father, but he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. This will happen at the Parousia. We will also appear before him when we die. Jesus tells us to be prepared for that hour. We have to watch out.
But watching out does not mean putting aside one’s daily activities and interests to wait for the Lord in apprehension. On the contrary, it means going about one’s work and seeing to one’s responsibility with dedication. The parable invites us to have an active attitude about the coming of Christ. Instead of being paralyzed by inactivity, we must be prudent and dependable in exercising our role of service towards others. On the other hand, to be “unprepared” is to delude ourselves into thinking that we will not be made accountable for our behavior.
GOSPEL • MATTHEW 24:42-51
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
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