Context: This homily was delivered at Immaculate Conception Region School in Mount Vernon.
So when I was in 7th and 8th grade, my mother would leave me at home by myself when I had a day off of school, but she would always give me some chores to do while she was gone.
[Have any of you had this happen? Your parents giving you chores to do while they are gone? And when do you usually do those chores?]
Yea, so I would never do my chores right away. I mean, my mom never got home until 5:30, so I had all the time in the world, right? I might hang out in my pajamas for a while. And then only eventually get dressed and brush my teeth. And then keep hanging out, doing nothing. Maybe read, maybe spend some time on the computer. But then before I knew it, it was already 4:30! I only had an hour left to do all my chores! So I would run around like a crazy person, trying to get everything done before I heard that garage door open, which was my signal that my mother was home. If I was lucky, I would get the chores done in time so that by the time she walked in the door, I was just sitting on the couch looking relaxed, so that she wouldn’t know I had put my chores off.
[Now what do you think? Do you think this was the right thing to do on my days off? I mean, yes, I got them done, but could I have done better?]
Putting my chores off until the very end of the day was not a good thing to do, because I was panicked all day. Even when I was having fun, I would be thinking about my chores. And then, at the end of the day, I felt scared that I would not get them done. This is not how to enjoy a day off! Instead, I should have done them first, and then I could have enjoyed the rest of the day in peace!
This is actually a good way to understand what Jesus is saying in our Gospel today. Jesus is saying that he is going to come back, but unlike with my Mom, Jesus did not tell us what time he was going to come back. Jesus just told us to be ready.
So what does it mean to be ready? It means to worry about God and our Christian life first. I do not care how old you are, you should be praying a little bit every day. And you should show love to everybody at school and to your parents. If you do these things, you will be ready for Jesus when he comes back. Your chores will be done, and you will be able to enjoy life. But if you say, “Oh, I’ll start praying next year” or “Oh, I’ll be nice to that person when they start being nice to me”, then Jesus could surprise you and come back before you are ready. Don’t do that. Take care of your God stuff first, and everything else will be do much better.