Stay awake then, for you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Obviously, if the owner of the house knew at what time the thief was coming, he would certainly stay up and not allow his house to be broken into. So be alert, for the Son of Man will come at the hour you least expect.
Imagine a faithful and prudent servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time. Fortunate, indeed, is that servant, whom his master will ﬁnd at work when he comes. Truly I say to you, his lord will entrust him with everything he has.
Not so with the bad servant, who thinks, ‘My master is delayed.’ And he begins to ill-treat his fellow servants, while eating and drinking with drunkards. But his master will come on the day he does not know, and at the hour he least expects. He will punish that servant severely; and place with him with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
How can I know that I obey Christ’s injunction “Be ready?” There exists a sign which can scarcely deceive as to one’s spiritual state in the sight of God. And that is self-denial. Not an occasional act of self-denial, caused by some passing exultation of the soul, by a habitual self-denial. For indeed the cross is so opposed to the spirit of the world that we can believe we are not under any illusion as to our relationship with Christ when we accept to bear his cross day after fay. The cross is the characteristic of the true disciples, as Jesus himself tells us several times (Mt 10:38; 16:24). This cross, because it is carried day after day, consists in denying oneself in a lot of little things: to constantly seek to please or to serve, to perform one’s duties as best one can, to serenely endure inconveniences, to control one’s flights of temper, to be faithful to one’s word, to forgive the neighbor’s tactlessness, etc. This type of self-denial, so simple but so crucifying in the long run, is the best way of preparing oneself to the impromptu arrival of Our Judge. If he finds us bearing his cross, the Son of man will easily recognize us as his own.
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