What an exciting Gospel!! It reminds me of a time I was waiting for a special event in my life. My mother put on my special dress and decorated the house. Today was my birthday!! Now you must know that my birthday is December 31, the last day of the year. No one ever remembered or still remembers my birthday because it is the last day of the year and everyone is tired out from planning Christmas. All you are looking forward to is presents, cake, and birthday cards. This year was going to be special because there was going to be a party and people were coming over. I kept looking out of the window for the guests to come. My dream was fulfilled because my party was special.
The Gospel today asks us to do the same thing. God is asking us to get dressed up, plan for a special day, and even light lamps like you would light the candles on your birthday cake. It is in getting ready for the event that causes great joy. Maybe you can remember the great joy of preparing for another kind of great event that caused you much joy as you were waiting in anticipation. Perhaps it was the birth of a new baby; perhaps it was in preparing to move into your first house or apartment. Or perhaps it was preparing for a special event that did not happen every day. And now, with the coming of another school year you might be looking forward to going to a new school or starting a new grade in the fall.
All of the anticipation for the new event is in itself an event because of the planning, excitement, and joy the future event will be bringing. The servants in the Gospel are like us. They were told by the Master, who is really God, to be ready for the Holy One when God returns. Can we be alive, and aware, and doing the good works that is expected of us until we meet the Holy One at the final door?
Everyday challenges can bring us struggle, discouragement, and even pain as we live our lives daily. But we are told in this Gospel to be ready for the Master, the Holy One to come to us and reward us for being faithful to the values of compassion, love, friendship, and good deeds as we live each day of our lives as preparation for when we meet the Holy One.
What a day it will be. Jesus explains it is like the Holy One welcoming us home by putting on an apron, going into the kitchen, and fixing us a meal. As the Gospel says if we are prepared to greet the Holy One by doing good works, showing compassion to others, and serving others the way we would like to be served; God will welcome us into heavenly life with great love. It will be God that will serve us eternal life with great joy.
It can be easy for us to anticipate God waiting for us because we have had our desires met. If people have not had the experiences of having their needs met it will be very difficult for these people to expect, wait, and dream that they, too, are loved by God.
Let me give you an example. For many children the experience of going to school can be very difficult. Parents cannot afford to get them a new outfit for school or get their children a backpack and new school supplies because the money is not there to provide such supplies. Often for children that are homeless, they do not know if they will ever get to school because for them they have enough worries about having enough food. Will they sleep in their family's car or will they sleep in a large cardboard container. If these parents and their children cannot anticipate the basics in life they will have a very hard time waiting with anticipation for the Holy One to come. Anticipation of God being in their lives and welcoming them home has a direct connection to the way they now experience life. I constantly think about how my actions have an effect on the poor and homeless.
I worry sometimes about my grandson. In all the years he was growing up he never once was invited to a birthday party of one of his friends. He knew Zack was going to have a birthday party because he could see the children arriving at the home across the street. Mental illness can also be a way of being excluded by neighbors and friends. How can we invite people into our lives that are different or strange to let them know that eventually God will invite them into a heavenly kin-dom?
We are to be ever vigilant to see the people that are on the margins of life and welcome them into our lives. In the Gospel story today, the servants had to be ready to great the Master, the Holy One in all hours of the day or night. We will be fed, welcomed, and loved. Never let a day pass when we do not appreciate God in our lives. Never let a day pass when we do not extend an offer of love to someone who is in need.
Master, welcome me home after a long a difficult journey. Let me bring others along with me who were tired and without hope. Let there are many children who come with me because they were touched with anticipation and hope.