Do not live in fear, little flock. It has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give alms. Make investments that never depreciate; establish inexhaustible accounts for yourselves in the heavens. For wherever your treasure is, there your heart will be, too.
Be dressed for hard work; keep your lamps burning. Be like people expecting their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open up for him the moment he comes and knocks . . .
Bear this in mind: if a householder could know just when the thief would break in, the householder would never leave the house to be broken into! You have to be ready the same way, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you don’t expect (Luke 12.32-36, 39).
In Sunday’s gospel Luke gathers together sayings and parables that speak to an unpredictable delay in the glorious return of Christ. Many early Christians expected Jesus’ second coming in glory to be immanent and must have grown weary of waiting. The rich fool in last Sunday’s gospel sees his biggest problem as lack of storage space for his harvest. His wealth becomes his source of whatever confidence he has in the world. He wants to “Eat, drink, and be merry.”
The end times may be delayed but rush toward us in our own lives. The element of surprise pervades Jesus’ sayings. Jesus counsels us to dress for hard work and to keep our lamps burning. The kingdom may startle us, erupting as suddenly as a thief breaking in. The gospel calls us to establish inexhaustible accounts by continuing Jesus’ mission: to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and free the oppressed. The wedding feast of the messiah may delay but we foretaste this meal in every Eucharist, which calls become what we celebrate: the body of Christ in our world.
What in the way you live each day indicates where your heart is? When have you had to reassess your Christian hopes?