Good Morning!Even all these years later we remember where we were in 2001, when evil came and drove airplanes into buildings, killing thousands of people. We remember them still, as do their families and friends. I spoke a few weeks ago to a man who was a pilot for American at the time; he spoke of how many friends he lost that day, the heartbreak. The great tragedy was that evil claimed to be acting in God’s name. Today, we see again that terrorists claim God’s name, while true Muslims are appalled at their actions. Evil seeks to engender hatred – God is love. Even as we decry their actions, and make every effort to stop them, and their reign of terror, let us not let them drag us down to their level, let us not let them make us hate.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
Returning now to Jesus’ discussion of the “eschaton”, the end times – he basically says, stop trying to guess or calculate when it is going to come! But stay prepared all the time.
Does anyone remember pop quizzes? The purpose of those was not really to flunk the entire class; it was to make sure students stayed up to date and didn’t just try to cram the night before an exam. Jesus says this is an exam you can’t cram for – you don’t know when it will come. This is true whether we are talking about the end times or our own physical end – we just don’t know. We think we will live to be old – and that may be the case, or it may not. There are folks who say, I’ll live as I want and repent when I’m old and ready to die; God will forgive me then. Problem is, when we live like that we forget God; we grow farther and farther away from God, and grow into habits that keep us away from God, and that time for returning may never come.
Jesus is telling us to live every day in the Kingdom now – and then we will be prepared for our own death, or for the day when he returns to claim his fulfilled Kingdom yet to come. To live in the Kingdom now, we must have allegiance to the King – we must allow God to be our guide and our Master; we must stay alert, stay in his will and in his love. We must love God and love our neighbor!
There was a reason Jesus had this discussion with the disciples at this time. He was preparing them for what was coming – the plot was coming to a climax. He would be taken from them, but he would return on the third day. They were to remain alert.