The Day and the Hour

1 Thessalonians 3:7-13; Matthew 24:42-51

The Day and the Hour

About a month ago, our Capuchin fraternity lost Fr. Michael Crosby, a giant in the corporate responsibility world and a friar who really tried to live in the prophetic spirit of his religious namesake, Jeremiah.  Three weeks ago, my dad died.  He had been in declining health for a number of years, yet the swiftness in which he passed away following a fall was a shock for our family.  Presiding and preaching at his funeral was both an honor and emotionally taxing.

Then earlier this week I turned 55.  The good news is that I’m now eligible for a host of senior discounts at restaurants and stores.   The bad news is that I’m now eligible for a host of senior discounts.  As I’m occasionally reminded, I’m now on the downside of the mountain of life.  The day and hour of my own death and Lord’s return are closer today than they were yesterday.  That’s a sobering thought.

Jesus wanted to use the power of such thoughts to exhort his disciples to vigilance and preparation for the day of the Lord.  On the human level, he knew that fear could be a powerful motivator. St. Paul, who lived with the expectation that the Lord’s return was imminent, appealed to another powerful motivating factor:  love.  

Scientists tell us that fear and love activate different parts of our brains.  We don’t and can’t always do things with the purest motives.  It’s OK to use our whole brains.  What matters is that we are ready—not only to die but even more to live.—JC