Wisdom 18:6-9, Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19, Luke 12:32-48
We must Be Ready
Do you recall the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster? In 1986 There were two electrical engineers at the Chernobyl control room that night. The best thing that could be said for what they were doing is that they were “playing around” with the machine.
The engineers were performing what the Soviets could describe as an unauthorised experiment. They were seeking to see how long a turbine would move the “free wheel” when they take the power off it.
Now, it happens that taking the power off that kind of a nuclear reactor is a difficult, dangerous thing to do because these reactors are very unstable in their lower ranges.
So, to get the reactor down to that kind of power, where they could perform the test they were interested in performing, they had to manually override six separate computer-driven alarm systems.
When they try to do this, some of the computers would write a warning with a strong alarm, “Stop! Dangerous! Go no further!”
Hence, rather than shutting off the experiment, the engineers shut off the alarms and kept going.
This resulted in a nuclear fallout. It was recorded all around the world, as one of the largest industrial accidents ever to occur in the world.
Whenever we ignore warnings about what is to happen, we ignore them to our detriment. In the world, we have to be ready at all times because anything can happen at any time. We have to prepare and get ready.
The readings of today, tell the need to be ready, how to be ready and the consequences and warnings if we are not ready. We must be ready at all times.
Like the story above, the instructions and warnings in Scripture are clearly stated. Yet we ignore them at our peril, life sometimes takes us unawares.
The Background/ Context.
To understand these readings, we have to look into the background in which Luke was writing.
During the persecution of the early Christians, many of the early disciples were on the verge of losing hope. Some were expecting the day the messiah would come While some were tempted to live a life of faithlessness and frugality.
So, the verses here are more of Jesus’ warnings and exhortations. It also promises hope and offers encouragement to Luke’s church, which is suffering persecution.
Also, since many of them are waiting for the second coming and when it will take place, Luke uses this gospel pericope to encourage and reveal to them, how happy, Jesus would be if they keep their faith strong and ready at all times. Hence, no one knows when He will come.
We are Preoccupied.
Many times We are often so preoccupied and anxious about the things of this world. We are so concerned about how to build the world’s costliest mansions and drive the latest car. Many times, our interest is only what and how to satisfy ourselves. We focus more on seeking the earthly and worldly treasure, hence we forget about pursuing the treasure of the world to come.
We leave the heavenly and the greatest treasure to pursue and fall into the trap of pursuing earthly pleasures, entertainment and desires. Hence, we easily forget our soul and our heavenly destination.
We are highly preoccupied with the things of the world and how to satisfy our human inclinations rather than seeking how to make God happy, hence life comes and takes us unawares.
Jesus today teaches his disciples the need to be ready at all times. We must be ready. We must prepare our souls. Even when we make a mistake, we have to rise again and seek the mercy seat of the most High God.
See that you are dressed for Action and have Your Lamps lit.
While addressing His apostles, Jesus says to them “See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit.”
The greek interpretation says estosan humon hai osphues periezosmenai“
This literally means “Let your waist be dressed” or “Let your loins be girded.” It pictures a person with loose robes tightened to permit easy movement.
It means they have tightened up now and prepared for what is to come. They have to let their lights shine, because the hour may be too late. This instruction from Jesus is to prepare the disciples for his second return, which will take place at an unexpected time.
The early Christians looked forward to Christ’s coming with great anticipation. During this time, some were beginning to understand that Christ’s coming has taken time even beyond their expectation, So Luke uses this text to let them know that the time they seek will take them unawares, so they have to dress up for action and be a light for the world to see.
Therefore, this is not a time of pleasure or a time to seek only what the stomach will eat, but especially a time to prepare our souls. Life will always take us unawares if we ignore the warnings.
How To Get Ready.
The readings of today give us hints on how we can be ready for the things to come. They are:
1. Stay in Faith.
In the world, we do not live like those who do not have faith in the things we believe. We believe that there is another life waiting for us yet we do not live like people who are interested in that life.
Therefore, for us to be ready we must live in faith. The second reading says that it is only faith that can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. So, if we believe that there is God, if we believe that there is eternal life, we must be ready for God, we must be ready for eternal life.
2. We must Understand Who We Are.
In the second reading, the author emphasizes that all the patriarchs died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised. Before this, they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth.
“People who use such terms about themselves make it quite plain that they are in search of their real homeland. They can hardly have meant the country they came from, since they had the opportunity to go back to it; but they were longing for a better homeland, their heavenly homeland”.
This is what we have to understand. We are just strangers. Despite who we are, we are mere earthly visitors that must go. Here is not our home, we must be prepared for that eternal home God prepares for us. We must be ready for it.
3. Aim at the Heavenly Treasure
In the gospel, Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom.
Then He says ‘Sell your possessions and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, a treasure that will not fail you, in heaven where no thief can reach it and no moth will destroy it. For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also“.
When Jesus says to sell your possessions and get yourselves treasures that will not fail us, Jesus emphasizes the importance and necessity of the heavenly treasure. What we sell is what we do not want anymore but what we acquire is what we want.
Therefore, we have to aim at the heavenly treasure. We have to aim at Jesus who is the greatest treasure. Whatever we possess cannot be greater than our relationship with the Lord. We have to be ready for Him.
4. We have to be Vigilant
In the gospel, Jesus says that we have to be like men who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Therefore, we must be ready at all times. When the time will come, we do not know. Those who will be rewarded are those whom the master finds awake when He comes.
These are the people who will be with the Lord at the table. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. We must be ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour we do not expect.
At the End.
When Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us or everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns”.
Therefore, In the end, there will be a reward for the servant who was alert and did not give up. There would be a reward for those who stood firm despite the crisis and tribulations.
2. Then Jesus says, But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the menservants and the maids, and eating and drinking and getting drunk, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful. This is when we are deceived by the pleasures and things of this world. Which then makes us far away from God.
When we are focused on pleasures instead of the salvation of our souls, life will take us unawares. Sometimes we think we have more time to live, not knowing we do not have time any longer. We must be ready at all times.
2b. For the servants beating the men and maidservants are those who because of their positions or opportunities, wealth etc, use what they have to maltreat others.
Here, we can find our politicians and Christians who think they have more years to acquire and possess the whole world. Jesus says that life will take them unawares. Therefore, life will take us unawares when we think we will never die. When we think we have everything and God is nothing.
3. Then Jesus says that the servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. Therefore, when we think we have enough times to live and hence do not even think of doing the will of God, we are preparing for punishment. We must be ready at all times.
Therefore, as a true servants of Jesus, much is expected from us.
1. The first question we have to ask ourselves is “are we ready? Are we ready to change our lives? Do you think we are ready for Jesus? Or do we still have more time? Do we make a u-turn or do we continue to stay believing that death is not our portion? When Jesus says that we must be ready, it means that the time to change is now or nothing. There is no postponement. The time to come to Jesus is now and not tomorrow or next.
2. Life takes us unawares when we think we have more years to live. Life will surely surprise us when we live as if we are not going to die or when we live in this world forever and ever. It will take us unawares when we only focus on the pleasure that it gives rather than the treasure that it bestows. When we are focused on satisfying only the body rather than the soul, then anything can happen when we do not expect that.
3. The readings of today remind us who we are. It reminds us that we are just people on a journey. As people who are on a journey, we must have faith that where we are going is real. We must live in faith. It is with faith that we will conquer our troubles and difficulties. With faith, we will continue to struggle despite whatever may stop us along the way.
The readings also remind us that we are servants who must give account to their master on the last day, therefore, we do not live as if we are the master already. Whatever position we acquire, let us understand that it is just a call to serve.
4. Therefore, this is a call to To centre our lives around Jesus Christ. We must be ready at all times. Our call is not to centre our lives on our earthly possessions. We may find it difficult because of our worldly possessions. Today, there are so many things, which are distracting us from developing a deep relationship with Christ. We have to sacrifice them, because of the love we have for Jesus Christ.
5. Therefore, from the readings, we have to decipher some characteristics of true servants of God. They are :1. Living in faith Those who live in faith, seeking the heavenly treasure with all their souls and mind. 2. Always in Preparation. Those who are ready always.
(3) Those who keep their lamps burning. They are constantly touching lives and shining their good works. They are always in God’s service.
(4) Those who center their lives on Jesus. You have to be a devoted servant, who eagerly awaits his master’s return as if he were coming from a wedding banquet. We must be ready at all times.
6. Finally, We have to seek the grace of God and for his help not to live a distracted life, so that when Jesus comes at a time we do not expect, He will find us ready to welcome him. We have to ask for the grace not to be deaf to his call, and always be ready to respond to the best of our ability.
Christ is demanding only one sacrifice: We must sell our possessions. What does it mean? The purpose is to seek God’s kingdom by spreading the love of God by meeting the needs of others. “Share with God’s people who are in need” (Rom 12:13).
Therefore, we have to live a life of total attachment to God and detachment from the things that are not of God.
May God forgive us and give us the grace to be ready at all times. May He save you from every trouble Amen.