Jesus said, “For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Advent is the season of waiting. For early Christians, waiting is a mystery. A mystery has lost its meaning to modern Christians who live in the era of instant gratification. We are conditioned by modern information technology, the Smartphone and other instantaneous services. For most of us, patience is a waste of time. Our decisions are made without critical thinking. We hardly go back to our experience and ask the question, “Why I feel such and such a way?” We rare give time to try to understanding our experiences. We judge according to our emotions instead of exercising our reasoning faculty, which is given by God to us, human beings only. Since our judgments are emotionally based, it could only lead to decisions that we may regret later.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to be patient and to stay in God’s mystery of waiting.
Jesus first used the story of the Flood, which was familiar to the Jews of his time and to Christians like us, to point out the suddenness of the coming of the Son of Man. How we perceive this story today? Many would turn their attention to the sins and immoralities of our time and warn people to repent. However, being Christians, we must understand first of all, our faith is not all about morality and ethics, although such elements are part of the faith. What Jesus tries to remind us is the suddenness and unexpectedness of the coming.
Looking back to our real life situations had such unexpectedness or suddenness happened to me before or now? Situations like losing a job out of sudden, losing a beloved in an accident, betrayed by someone whom you held dearly, relapsed into an old and uncharitable habit again…etc. All these tell us how vulnerable we are. However, like in the time of Noah, there is one whom we can always turn to. And he is God. He is always with us, as it was in the beginning, is now and evermore.
The description of the men working in the field and the women in the mill is also about coming. But here, we are told that some are taken while some are left. In our daily examen, we should meditate how some people who are less sinful than I are now in hell, while I am spared by the mercy of God to continue to live. At the end of the examen, we should give thanks to God for his mercy and for giving us the second chance.
Having told the story of the Flood and the description of being taken and left, Jesus invites us to be ready and prepared for the “the hour that you do not expect”. How can I be prepared for such an hour? Obviously we cannot continue to eat and drink, marry and give in marriage as usual. Jesus uses the metaphor of burglary prevention. In other words, we should take precautions against things and thinking that may corrupt out faith. Go to Mass every Sunday. If you can, go to Mass everyday. Read the Bible everyday. Pray every day. Go to reconciliation as often as you can because there must no passing and premature judgment. Leave that until the Lord comes (1 Cor 4:5). Amen.