First Reading: Ws 18:6-9; Psalm: 33. R. v. 12b; Second Reading: Heb 11:1-2.8-19; Gospel: Lk 12:32-48
ARE YOU READY?
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
God told a poor man to get ready for he was going to die. The poor man went about living his normal life of charity and righteous living. The appointed date of his death came and passed and he found himself still alive. He then asked God “Hello God, I’d like to know what happened; why I’m still alive?” God said to him “Remain steadfast in your good works; no one knows the time or the day.” It was then the turn of a rich man. When he was told that he would die, he became edgy, sold all he had and did charity with the entire money accrued while he waited for his death. The slated date came and passed and he was still alive. He became angry and asked God why he was still living. God said to him “You have tasted riches; I’d like you to taste poverty also. However, continue with the good works you’ve just started because I am coming at an hour you do not expect.”
We can be sure that if each of us knew our hour of death, we would prepare. Our orientation and priorities will take a different turn because we would be scared of what shall become of us in the life beyond. This shows how deceptive the temporariness of the things of the earth can be to the extent of snatching us away from the things that really matters. Sickness and the fear of death have this humbling and powerful effect on us to realising how wasteful and unprepared we are to meet God. They are necessary factory reset that we need from time to time.
If we have few more days to live, what are the things that we will readily and quickly do? Perhaps we can write them down and muse on them. I would want to believe that whatever those things are must be something good. And we mustn’t wait until our death is near before we begin to do them because no one is sure of the day or time of death. We can begin to do them now.
If we were suddenly told we would die soon, one of the ways we can evaluate our level of preparedness is by taking a count on the number of things on our mental list that we would want to do or desist from. If we have a lot on our list, then it means we were never prepared at all. If we have very few on our list, maybe we are making effort. And if we have nothing different to do from what we have been doing before, then perhaps we are ready.
Certainly, this will only make sense to those who believe in the Christian moral principle of good living since morality has become relative in our world today where people choose for themselves what is right or wrong. This should not be heard among Christians who know what is expected of us as followers of Christ. No human being has any moral authority to decide what is right or wrong for him or her. Therefore, right action for every Christian should be guided by the moral principles of the scriptures.
Every Christian must be wary of relative morality that has become the moral compass of secularism. The world should not decide for us what is right or wrong or how to live our lives because the world has no moral authority to do so. The collapse of morality in our world today is on the increase because the society has become the decider of the rightness and wrongness of every action. A lot of practices that our faith condemns to be wrong have been glorified by the society. Cohabitation, abortion, same sex marriage, male and female sterilization, to mention but a few, has become an acceptable way of life.
“Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I tell you, he will set him over all his possessions” (Lk 12:42-44).
Christians should be the wise and faithful steward of every society. Christ has entrusted us with the duty of practicing and sustaining the moral values of the gospel. These values should guide the choices we make, enabling us to discern right actions as against what the society throw at us. Blessed is that faithful steward whom the Lord will find so doing when he returns. But when we allow our faith and beliefs to be infiltrated by societal decadence, we will lose our guard and be found wanting before God when he calls us to himself.
Our belief as Christians differs from the beliefs of a majority of people in our world today. People who don’t believe in the existence of the life after death or the reality of heaven or hell. Hence, they live their lives as if all there is to life starts and ends here. But for us Christians, the reverse is the case. We believe that we shall give account of our lives when God calls us and that whatever that account may be shall determine our place either in heaven or hell. What this implies is that we have commandments that should guide us to reach our true home in heaven. We should therefore be guided by it rather than yield to the misleading practices replete in our world today. When the Lord returns, will he find us doing what he commanded us to do?
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). Our faith in the promises of God will not fail us. Abraham our father walked by faith and his faith did not fail him. When God asked him to leave his own land and move to a foreign land, Abraham obeyed without knowing exactly where he was going. When God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the child of promise, he also obeyed even when he knew that it was through Isaac that his numerous descendants shall come. In all these, Abraham lost nothing but gained everything.
Just like Abraham our father in faith, we can be sure that God’s promise of eternal life to the faithful shall be fulfilled even though we cannot presently see or perceive what heaven looks like. All our efforts as good stewards who remain faithful to the command of the master shall be duly rewarded if we persevere to the end. Let us therefore remain steadfast in good works and righteous living so that when the master calls us, we will not be found wanting.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, give us the grace to persevere in good deeds so that we may be found ready when you come. Amen.