By Katie Warner
I was pregnant with my second child—a little girl—when we moved across the country for my husband’s work assignment. As baby-time approached, the anxiety of the unknown crept into our otherwise blissful preparations for her coming. We didn’t have any family in town and had only made a few friends in the short time we’d lived there, so the thought of giving birth before my mom arrived to take care of our toddler son during labor was a somewhat unnerving possibility.
We kept trying to play the guessing game as to when she would come. “Maybe she’ll be late like our son, in which case we have nothing to worry about.”
“Maybe she’ll be early; but if she’s not earlier than when your mom is scheduled to get here, then we’ll be okay.”
For weeks we tried to predict the day and the hour.
Of course, this was futile. There was absolutely no way to know. We couldn’t predict the timing of her arrival; all we could do was prepare for it—whenever that time would be.
In the Gospel today, Jesus says that “no one knows” the day He will return. Just like the people in the days of Noah had no idea as to when God would pour judgment upon the earth, so too will the Son of Man come unexpectedly and abruptly. What people can do—in imitation of Noah—is make preparations so they will not be caught off-guard, as all but Noah’s family was unprepared for the flood. Further, Noah didn’t sit around watching weather patterns, attempting to predict when God would send that torrent of waters on the earth. He was instead diligent in preparing himself to be ready for that unpredictable moment.
Similarly, God doesn’t want us to spend our time predicting when the end times will come. Rather, He wants us to devote our energy to preparing for the end times—whenever it comes.
What does that preparation look like? It looks like spiritual readiness, alertness to the fact that we must be diligent in preparing our hearts and our whole lives to meet the Son of Man when He comes again. Growing in prayerfulness, seeking repentance, becoming more obedient and trusting in God’s will and promises, and increasing our courage in Jesus who assures that triumph and joy will come to the suffering Church on earth. (Hey, it looks a lot like the season of Advent!)
Ultimately, we must prepare for Christ’s unpredictable coming by growing in charity, by expanding our love for others and for the Lord so that we will not be found sleeping when He comes like a “thief in the night,” but instead, prosper in our end times, as the Psalmist declares today: “May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6)!
In what ways are you lacking in spiritual alertness? A dedicated prayer life, regular sacramental Confession, hope in God’s promises, trust in His will for you, charity toward others? How can you increase in that area in which you lack readiness, particularly during this holy season of Advent, which readies us not only to celebrate Christ’s coming at Christmas, but is meant to help prepare us for His coming at the end of time?
About the Author:
Katie Warner is a wife, mom, author, and speaker who helps others become leaders at living more spiritual and meaningful lives, together with their families. Katie is the author of Head & Heart and part-time Manager of Communication and Evangelization for Catholics Come Home. Her favorite ministry work is family life. Connect with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, and at CatholicKatie.com.