Our Lord uses all sorts of metaphors and similes to get across his ideas about the kingdom of God. In the gospel for tomorrow’s Mass, he compares himself to a burglar. He says to us: “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.” The Son of Man is the expression that Jesus habitually uses to refer to himself. Now, if Jesus is coming like a thief in the night, what does he want to steal from us? Our lives. He wants to end our lives in this world and bring us to be with him forever in heaven—if he finds us worthy of heaven.
Then he goes on to compare his coming to the return of a wealthy man to his home after an absence of some time—maybe a business trip or a vacation. He had left the butler (the steward) in charge of the other servants and of the entire household. If he finds everything running smoothly as it should, he will be pleased, and will reward the butler. But if he finds things not going well because the butler is not responsible, intelligent, and a man of good will, then there will be severe punishments meted out.
You and I are rarely wealthy people who manage a whole group of servants as is sometimes the case among the landed gentry of England or other countries. But we do have a little world over which we have authority, and for which we are responsible. That world consists of our time, our talents, our job, our home, our family, our spiritual lives. The Lord expects us to govern those things well—according to his holy will. To use them as he intends; to treat them in a way conducive to eternal salvation for them and for ourselves. You remember what it was like in grade school and high school when the teacher had to leave the classroom for a few minutes? If there were boys in the class, you could be sure that they would start cutting up and running around the room, yelling, and generally creating havoc. Then, when the door opened and the teacher reappeared, there was the mad scramble back to the seats, to silence, and to order. That is to be expected among teenage males; it is not appropriate for adults. Our Lord has promised that he will come back for us. What will he find? I hope that he will find you and me doing exactly what he asks of us, and looking forward to his return and to our being with him forever in heaven. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.