Saturday, November 27, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent

For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Matthew 24: 37 - 44)

Interesting Details
• Context: At Jesus' time as is now, two issues are entangled. Some of those who believe that the end of time will come would try to calculate when that would be, and when the calculation fails, doubt is thrown on the notion of the end of time. In this passage, Matthew distinguishes the two. The end of time will come, but do not try to calculate it, instead be prepared always.
• This passage includes three parables of the end: the great flood, working men and women, and the thief. All three emphasize that the Second Coming will be sudden and unpredictable. The lesson is to WATCH right now.
• Who needs to watch? Not only sinners, but everyone. In Jesus' description, Noah's contemporaries were doing regular things (eating, drinking, and marrying). In the second parable, people were doing good work, and those who were saved appear to be the same as those who were not saved (though God can tell the difference).
• How should we watch? It may take time to prepare, and may appear contradictory to common sense. One example was Noah's building a great big boat on land and gathering a large collection of animals.

One Main Point
I should watch, open my eyes, and examine my life. Though it appears routine, commonly accepted, and like everyone else, am I ready?

1. It is difficult to question what I do routinely, and even more difficult when it appears good. For example, I work hard to earn a living for the family I love; however I may forget to ask whether God calls me to work that much, whether I work in a loving manner, and whether I share my earnings with the poor in the ghetto I pass by everyday on the way to work. Do I set some time or get some outside perspectives to help me examine my life?
2. If I were to die tonight, what would I do now?
3. Would my watchfulness appear ridiculous to people around me, the way Noah's ark did? If so, dare I?

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