So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
These words of Jesus can seem frightening. The talk of judgment with two radically different outcomes: Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Will I be taken? Will I be found acceptable in God’s eyes when he suddenly comes?
I think the Lord is inviting us to imagine the immediate end of our lives, not to frighten us, but to help us finally see things as they really are. People with terminal illnesses often come to see with blinding clarity what is important in their lives and what isn’t. They let go of a lot of the things they used to care about: resentments, money, chasing after prestige. And they redirect their time and attention to the people and things that do matter.
So let’s imagine that the Lord whispered in your ear today and told you that today would be your last day of life. What would you do? Is there someone you would say “I’m sorry” to? Is there someone you’d say “I love you” to?
Well, don’t wait. In the immortal words of Nike: “Just do it!”
—Fr. Tim Howe, SJ, is president of St. Xavier High School, in Cincinnati, OH.