New Year's Eve
[Luke 12:35-40] “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Dressed, Awake, Another Year
The due date is coming. If your birthday is in January, New Year’s means what? It means the license plate on your car is almost expired, and the due date is coming! Procrastination. Procrastination – as often as procrastination tends to work out in the end, the anxiety it causes is not worth it.
The tags on your car; the taxes owed for the previous year; deadlines at work; important appointments; monthly bills; new promised goals; the due date on a big paper – looming deadlines. And if you miss any one of these deadlines – if your procrastination catches up to you and you are late on any one of these – the consequences are ……. usually not that bad. Maybe a ticket. Maybe a fine. Maybe a late fee. Maybe, in the extreme, you’ll lose your job. But you would probably find another one. You can usually, somehow, land back on your feet. You and I, brothers and sister, live in a world of deadlines, but not so much a world of consequences.
We live in a world of deadlines, but not so much a world of serious or permanent consequences. This is bad practice for the reality that is to come. Our world of such stretchable deadlines makes it nearly impossible for us to comprehend (and accept) the permanence of the unknown deadline of which our Lord speaks – “Stay dressed for action”; “keep your lamps burning”; “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
This return of Christ, the Last Day, and the end of your life – these are permanent, immovable deadlines. Christ says the door will be shut – those knocking thereafter will not be let in [Matt. 25:10-12; Luke 13:25].
There is a Deadline, so to speak, for Mankind and for the Individual. I believe it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around this, but a Permanent thing does happen to us in the end. And what I do now does have Permanent, Forever Consequences – what I do now brings a consequence that does not end and is not reversable, for good or for evil. We forget this kind of seriousness of our lives – but our lives are serious.
Our lives, brothers and sisters, are likely more serious than the plans and the dreams we have in mind for this coming New Year. The seriousness of life is likely more serious than my dreams for 2019.
You dream of earthly things, but you continue to procrastinate in the spiritual things. You work and plan to pursue the pleasurable things of this life in 2019. Or, if you don’t have the resources to pursue them, you dream of the better things in life – all things which pass away and have no permanence.
Whatever you are planning to build or pursue in the coming year, it is a thing you will only lose with the passing of life. But there are permanent things you could be pursuing – and the procrastination of these more permanent things could be Forever-Devastating.
We truly do not know how much time we have – we only know that we now have less. The permanent things are the spiritual matters. What I procrastinate for a day, and then a week, soon become a year and then years – years of knowing what I should do right, but not doing it.
In regards to faith in Christ; in regards to deliberate and specific repentance from a sin; in regards to growing in the knowledge of your Christian faith; in regards to the Bible and the Catechism; in regards to new good works; in regards to turning from your temper and your selfishness; in regards to personal works of charity; in regards to fostering a heart that loves others, loves the poor, loves those in need – in regards to these things – which are all the things of Faith in Christ – PROCRASTINATE NO LONGER.
Instead, in all these ways – in regards to faith, knowledge, and love of Christ, and in works of love for your neighbor – become dressed and ready for action. Do not sleep on it. These are things which have permanence, even to your benefit. Those who are ready and working for their master will not be ashamed when He returns. Those who have only pursued the goals of this life will have a harder time showing their faces. Set your face toward being unashamed at the coming of your Master – when He comes, be working at those tasks which He has given His people to do.
But have you sinned? Have I sinned? Are we racked through and through with sin? Do I find that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand? (Romans 7:21) Do any of us stand sinless before the Lord? No - there is no one living that does not sin.
But, thanks be to God, Christ who is coming at a time we do not know has come once already at the right time and died for us. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person ….. but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” [Romans 5:6-10].
The death of Jesus atones for your sins. Pursue what is right; what falls short is forgiven for those found walking in Him; Christ forgives and has forgiven. Since He died for us before we knew Him, now that we do know Him, how much more can we be confidence in His love for us.
“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.” Here you are, awake. Your Master comes to serve you at table tonight, to give you His body and Blood given and shed on the Cross. Here your sins are forgiven.
Another year starts tonight – be dressed, awake, and ready for service. Let us no longer procrastinate in the spiritual matters of life, but let us pursue these more permanent gifts. Amen.