21st Thursday of Ordinary Time
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13; Mathew 24:42-51
Both today’s readings share a common theme. For Saint Matthew and Saint Paul lived in times when it was dangerous to be a follower of Christ and a member of his Church. In fact, a reliable tradition informs us that both of these fervent apostles were killed for the faith. They were not the only ones who suffered for living as faithful Christians as Paul makes clear in this letter to the Thessalonians. They had to endure serious sufferings for their open practice of their faith. Paul urges this community to remain ready for the final encounter with the Lord Jesus. “You do not know on which day he will come”, he tells them. He points out that “What hour you do not expect the Son of Man will come.”
In order to re-enforce his warning the apostle compares their situation to that of servants whose master has departed on a voyage, They are not sure when he will return. “Blessed is that servant whom his master finds carrying out his orders when he returns unexpectedly.” When the end of all human and animal life will come has recently been determined by science. However, Each day brings surprises to many individuals who unexpectedly encounter fatal accidents from within or from external causes. Saint Paul expected it sooner than later. What he tells each of us today is “Always be alert and ready”, for we know not the day nor the hour when we shall be met and judged by Our Lord.
At the opening sentence of today’s Gospel Jesus himself gave his disciples this same warning. This text opens with a bluntly stated warning “Stay awake! For you o not know on which day the Lord will come.” He adds a further comments to reinforce this severe injunction: ” Be sure of this if he had known the hour of night when the thief was coming he would stay awake and not let his house be broken into..” A visit to the emergency room in any large hospital verifies that Jesus’s warning remains as applicable today as it was in his time. Suffering and death continue to surprise persons or all age every day. Our Lord continues to remind his faithful, every day. “Semper paratus” Always be pprepared to meet our Savior with loving trust in his mercy.