Luke 12: 32-40
Never, Not On Duty
My brother used to be a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry. Cal Fire are the ones that specifically deal with forest, wildland and brush fires usually in the hardest to get to places. You no doubt have seen their hard work with the massive amount of wildland fires happening all over California during this particularly dry fire season. My brother and I are 16 years apart, so I was 6 years old hearing my 21-year-old brother tell me stories about structure fires and rescuing members of his squad. I heard about times when he was hanging from a rope in a helicopter dropping into a forest on fire. I witnessed him park the car with me in it, and run to the scene of an accident with his medical gear, and assist until help arrived. He seemed fearless to me. Ready at a moment’s notice to jump into the fray and help whom he could. It was this sense of duty that drove him to act without regard to his own safety and even during his days off he was never “not on duty”.
I have no doubt that we would all jump into action at the sight of emergency. In fact, many of our parishioners have gone through the CERT (Certified Emergency Response Team) training or one of Tom Lenzo’s ICOE (In Case Of Emergency) presentations and trainings. Are we, however, ready for the Son of Man?
I have read this Gospel a few times and the language at the end of the passage had me thinking about the Second Coming of Jesus, and recalling people that stand on corners speaking about being ready to go to heaven. But as I was reading a few sermons to prepare for this article, I came across a line in a sermon, written by Rev. Michael K. Marsh, that completely reframed this passage for me. “So when is the unexpected hour? When will all this happen? Well, my guess is that for most of us, maybe all of us, the most unexpected hour is today, right here, right now”. He goes on to say Christ comes to us in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times in our lives and often the hardest times in our lives. Are we ready to receive the Son of Man?
This idea hit me square in the face. Christ comes into our lives every day at the most unexpected and maybe inconvenient times. And are we always ready for Him? Are we ready to stop and help someone on the side of the road? Are we ready to pump gas into the tank of a stranger asking for a gallon or two? Are we ready to make amends with people that pop into our minds today? I think as Christians, we are never “not on duty” and we are called to be ready to receive Christ by receiving those he sends in to our path.
This is the challenge of our Christian life, and one that is subtler than say a building on fire, but just as important. Finding where Christ comes into our life today and be ready to receive him.