« Are you ready? » A question that is familiar indeed.
The husband will ask his wife, or the wife her husband, as they wait for the partner to go somewhere.
A group of friends will call out the same words to one who has still to join the group leaving for an outing.
And the words will be heard by students asked by the teacher the same question about the coming exams.
Ready for a journey, an excursion, a meeting, a gathering, a feast, an adventure – so many occasions awaiting our presence, our readiness.
But this Sunday’s gospel message (19th, Year C – Lk.12:35-40) is about more that readiness for something.
Jesus speaks of being ready… for someone – someone’s coming, someone’s sudden arrival.
The unexpected return of the one who should find us waiting, expecting, attending to the tasks confided to us.
The long text of Luke can be summarised in the key sentence in the middle of those 14 verses: “You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
This theme of ‘expectation’ comes back three times and is expressed in a contrast: the attitude of the servant who does not expect his master’s return and what is expected from the person who “has been given a great deal on trust.”
So, perhaps our life is meant to be a coming together of two sets of expections… ours and … that of God!