By Fr. Paul August Gros
Dear Family in Christ,
Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ! “Thief in the night” is the phrase that jumps out at me in the second reading this Sunday. If you have ever been the victim of burglary than the image that St. Paul uses to describe the end times is very real. I have had items stolen from me before, but they have never been anything of true value. My heart goes out to those who have had items of real value taken from them. I can imagine the feeling of been vulnerable and violated are real.
St. Pau l uses that image of “thief in the night” to describe the time in which Jesus will return for His second coming. He uses this image because it was used by the Lord Himself. In Mt. 24:43 Jesus, when speaking about His second coming, says, “But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into.” St. Peter goes on to use the same image in 2 Peter 3:10. It must have been a real image that many folks at the time could connect with when it comes to experiencing something very unexpected.
St. Paul uses this image when he addresses the Thessalonians who are concerned about their loved ones who have passed away before the second coming. He reassures them the second coming of Christ will come (this is a doctrine of the faith) but we do not know when (Acts 1:7). And so, like a thief in the night that catches the homeowners off guard, many will not be ready and not be prepared when he does come (in Mt. 24 Jesus makes the connection to those who were caught off guard at the time of Noah during the flood in Genesis 6-9).
However, St. Paul goes on the reassure his readers, “but you, brothers and sisters, are NOT in darkness, for the day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of light and children of day.” The “day” that St. Paul speaks about is what several of the Old Testament prophets would have referred to as “the Day of the Lord”. For the Jews, this was the Day of Judgement in both particular circumstances in the Old Testament but also in general terms as well. For Christians, this would refer to Christ’s second coming…when He comes in all His glory to judge the living and the dead at the end of time.
The question for us this weekend would be – are we living as if we are children of the light? Because that is who we are. When we were baptized, the priest or deacon would have lit your baptismal candle from the Easter Candle and would have said “Receive the Light of Christ – Parents and godparents, this light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He (she) is to walk always as a child of the light. May he (she) keep the flame of faith alive in his (her) heart. When the Lord comes, may he (she) go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.” Thus, St. Paul uses metaphorical language to encourage his readers – STAY AWAKE! STAY SOBER! Do not be like the rest of the world who live in this life as if THIS IS ALL THAT THERE IS!! They are in darkness, but you dear friends, should be walking in the light!
Finally, I want to thank ALL THOSE WHO assisted in making our Fall Festival a big success! I am so grateful to God for this community and many volunteers who make St. Margaret and St. Thomas such a wonderful Catholic parish. I pray you all have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving week! Please note that I will be out of town on Tuesday and so we will have a communion service that morning. Wednesday evening at 6:00PM will be our Thanksgiving vigil Mass at St. Margaret.