29th Week in Ordinary Time
Tuesday 20th October
“Be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.” [Luke 12:36]
Like many texts of scripture, today’s reading is multi-layered. It is, in the first instance, eschatological. That is to say, it refers to the ‘end of days’ and relates to the second coming of Jesus. It has echoes in the letters of Paul and the book of Revelation. It teaches us that a key component of the Christian life is to remain attentive to the fact that this event can happen at any time. As the text reminds us – we should not be found napping.
That said, after two thousand years or so we can find our attention wandering. Theological theories abound as to how to reinterpret the text in a way that is more reflective of our experience. Even St Paul, who wrote his early letters in the belief that the second coming was immanent, had to revise his theology as experience taught him that it might not be so simple. God’s timeframes are not ours.
Finding the way forward begins by noting that God does not have the same relationship to time that we do. We think of time as linear (even though contemporary science increasingly calls that into doubt). We normally experience time as past, present & future with clear distinctions between those categories. It can be surprising to realise that God does not relate to time that way. For God, there is no past and there is no future. All is present to God.
This sets the scene for the second layer of meaning: that for every individual the second coming of Jesus occurs at death. During this age of pandemic, we are being reminded of an uncomfortable truth: death comes for us all and, sadly, almost always when we would rather be doing something else.
Not a cheerful thought, but not intentionally bleak. The way forward is to understand that God, in and through Jesus Christ, is inviting you to receive and respond to him at every moment of every day. This is the most important layer of this text. Learn to do this and neither your own death nor the second coming of Jesus at the ‘end of time’ will find you unprepared.
By Shane Dwyer
You can close this page now, or if you would like to learn more about us, check out our website.