Commentary on the Gospel of

Mary Lee Brock - Creighton University's Graduate School

A couple of weeks ago, inspired by beautiful autumn weather, I went to my local plant nursery to purchase some fall plants for my porch and garden.  As I was taking in all of the beautiful flowers and piles of pumpkins, I saw a big sign announcing the nursery would be celebrating the opening of the Christmas season on October 14th.  The contrast of both autumn and Christmas happening at the same time created a sense of a time warp.

That feeling of dissonance came back to me as I read today’s Gospel from Luke in which Jesus is teaching his disciples to always be ready for his return.  Jesus tells the disciples just as the master of a house would not allow his house to be broken into, you must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Jesus is teaching us to be mindful of the challenges inherent in being prepared for an uncertain future while also being fully grounded in the present.  Particularly when we find ourselves in challenging times, we can try to escape the stressors by planning for the future.  We can be seeking comfort by trying to feel a sense of control by striving to prepare for many futures such as a natural disaster, job loss, move to a new city, welcoming a new family member, saving money for retirement.  Being so focused on the future can pull our attention away from the present.  Careful planning is a responsible choice, but there must be a sense of balance.  An obsession with the future does not allow us to be available to carefully listen to one another, to offer support to those in need, to show gratitude for the many gifts we receive from God.

As I pray with today’s scripture readings, I am struck by how much Jesus trusts me to both stay grounded in the present and be prepared for the future.  I pray with these questions:  How do I find myself preparing for the coming of the Son of Man?  When does the sinfulness of my obsessing about wishing to control the future interfere with my relationship with people in my life and with God?  How does a practice of daily gratitude orient my life to the coming of Jesus?

It is only a matter of time.


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