5 Things to Do to Be Ready for Christ’s Call
User’s Guide to Sunday, Aug. 7.
Sunday, Aug. 7, is the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Mass readings: Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19 or Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12; Luke 12:32-48 or Luke 12:35-40.
In the Gospel for this weekend, the Lord Jesus presents a “recipe for readiness,” five specific things to do that will help to ready us for the time when the Lord calls us. It is not an exhaustive list, for no single passage of Scripture is the whole of Scripture, but these are some very practical and specific things to reflect on and do.
Reassess your wealth. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” In this passage, the Lord is giving us a triple teaching on wealth. He says that we ought to do these three things: When we are generous to the needy and poor, we store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. While it likely will not be appropriate for us to sell everything, the Lord is surely telling us to simplify, to be less rooted in this world and to come to experience that our greatest treasure is God and the things awaiting us in heaven.
Ready yourself to work. The Lord says, “Gird your loins,” which is the ancient equivalent of “Roll up your sleeves.” The Lord has work for us to do and wants us to get to it. He has in mind things like growing in holiness, pursuing justice, and raising children in Godly fear. The Lord wants us to work in his kingdom. We must commit to prayer, Sunday worship, the reception of the sacraments, obedience and holiness. So work with what the Lord gave you to advance his kingdom. Part of being ready means doing your work.
Read the word. The Lord says, “Light your lamps.” On one level, the phrase “light your lamps” is simply a symbol for readiness (e.g., the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13). A lamp is also a symbol for Scripture. “Your Word, O Lord, is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). So an essential part of being ready is being rooted and immersed in the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church.
Remain watchful. The Lord says, “And be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. … Be sure of this: If the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” This is not passive watching like waiting for a bus. It is active waiting, like waiting on tables. We must set our house in order, sweep clean our soul of sin and remove the clutter of worldliness from our life.
Reflect on your reward. The Lord says, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” Do you meditate often on heaven and long for its rewards? Part of being ready to go home to the Lord is to long for that day to come and prepare for it eagerly!
Five steps for readiness: We have but to do them consistently to live a life of eager readiness.