In last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus told a series of parables to illustrate the coming of the Kingdom of God and our need to be vigilant. Usually it is during the Advent season that we focus on preparing for the Lord’s coming, but this Gospel passage reminds us that preparation and vigilance should be a year-round focus.
To help us understand what it means to be vigilant, Father Pablo Gadenz, a priest in Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey and associate professor of Biblical Theology at Seton Hall University, stopped by The Inner Life® to offer his reflections on Sunday’s Gospel.
A quick way to check if you are living your life in preparation and vigilance is to take a look at what you value. Do you define your treasure as your material possessions, or do you define your treasure as the grace, virtue, and love in your life?
“As opposed to the treasure that the rich fool was storing up for himself, Jesus tells us in this Sunday’s Gospel to store up treasures in heaven,” Fr. Gadenz pointed out. “And He asks us to look where our treasure is. Where your treasure is there also will your heart be.”
In thinking about preparing to meet the Lord, we tend to think of the Second Coming or meeting Him at the end of our life. But we also meet Jesus – His body, blood, soul, and divinity – in the Eucharist at each and every Mass. Fr. Gadenz pointed out that this Gospel passage not only encourages us to prepare well for the end of our life, but to also prepare ourselves to worthily receive Our Lord in the Eucharist.
“The first parable is about a master who returned from a wedding and the servants have to be vigilant, have to be alert for his arrival,” he said. “And here, the master obviously represents Jesus and He’s coming with His wedding feast. Here, we also make a connection to the Eucharist, how Jesus comes for us in the Eucharist. He comes to us and we want to be ready to receive Him there as well.”
Preparing ourselves well to receive Jesus in the Eucharist allows us to participate in His divine life, and is a foretaste of meeting Our Lord in heaven. But heaven can often seem far away. In our daily lives we can be so easily distracted by the concerns of the world that we put our prayer life on the back burner, or at the bottom of our priority list. But Fr. Gadenz explained how the Gospel encourages us to always be vigilant, always deepening our relationship with the Lord so that we are ready to meet Him whenever He calls us.
“Just as we do not know the hour when a thief is coming, Jesus says that at an hour you do not expect the Son of Man will come, referring to Himself and to a Second Coming,” Fr. Gadenz said. “And so we also want to realize and consider how is it that we live our daily life, in expectation of Jesus’ coming. His coming to us at the end of time, the Second Coming, and His coming to us at the end of our lives.”
“So we have that question being posed to ourselves. Am I ready for the coming of the master? Of the coming of the Lord? Certainly, as we say in the Creed every Sunday, the Lord will come again in His Second Coming … but we know more particularly that the Lord will come for us at the end of our own lives. And we never know how much time we have, in order to prepare for that encounter with the Lord. And so we always have to be ready.”
Listen to the full reflection below: