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This Sunday we celebrate the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our Gospel and our first reading this weekend focus on the need for preparedness. In the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be “like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.” Those who are prepared will be well rewarded for their master will “gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” While this last sentence clearly is an exaggeration, the point is important. Those who are prepared for the master’s coming will be rewarded. While it would be nice to know the precise day and hour when the master will return, this information is not and will not be available to us. So instead of wasting our time and efforts trying to determine when the end will come and the master will appear, it is far preferable simply to be prepared. This doesn’t mean that we have to be “spiritual insomniacs.” Rather we are called to live our lives in such a way that we will be ready whenever the master comes.
Our first reading this Sunday shares the theme of preparedness --- not for the master’s coming, but for the Passover --- when the Jews were led out of Egypt. The opening sentence of this reading, though, seems to suggest that this night was known beforehand: “The night of the Passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage.” This sentence is not meant to suggest that they knew the exact date, rather that they were sure of their eventual deliverance.
The opening sentence of our second reading this Sunday is one of my favorite scripture quotes. “Brothers and Sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seem.” This is an eloquent description of faith, and a reminder that faith is about things beyond our senses and outside of our logic and rational explanations.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. How does one be prepared for the master’s coming?
2. How would you describe faith?
3. When have you “known” something by faith?