“You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
No, we do not know the exact moment when the end of our time will come, that is certain. But, how can we be prepared for when God does show up? How will you be ready to respond? I’m not talking about Judgment Day, rather, I invite you to think about times when God showed up in your life when you least expected it. Perhaps when you were so overcome with emotion that you were at a loss for words and experienced awe at God’s presence. Or maybe that “God moment” when you knew you were in the right place at the right time, or perhaps someone else was able to be that for you.
“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Over the course of the summer, I led a series of reflections at our local correctional facility. Last week, I asked the group of 41 men in protective custody, “What do you hope for and what or who do you place your hope in?” One of the men loudly responded, “I find hope in my faith. And faith is believing in something that I may not see.” It was clear, he understood the assignment.
In that very moment, I was taken aback and was in awe. God met me and had come to greet me. The others joined in and proceeded to openly share their thoughts and experiences on hope and faith. First, I originally planned to meet with only about five to eight of them that morning, but instead, I was greeted by 41 of them. I was not prepared with enough handouts! When the officer told me I would have 41 in attendance, I gasped and immediately said a quick prayer to myself: “God, please help me out here. I did not prepare for this!” Immediately, I was overcome with a wave of calmness and peace, and a gentle voice in my head said, “You are more than prepared. Trust me.” And I did. And with thirty seconds left to spare in our time together, the group enthusiastically asked when the next session would be.
When I enter the units, sometimes I don’t know how many folks I will be spending my time with. I also don’t know what stories I will hear, whether or not there was a lockdown an hour prior or if they had been on lockdown for a few days. What I do know for certain though, is that I am called to show up and serve as a faithful example of God’s love for each one of them. And to be prepared as much as I can, and to have faith, even in what I can not see.
Questions for Reflection:
- “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” What area(s) of justice do you feel most called to serve as an advocate for, either with time or treasure?
- Recall a moment that has helped prepare you for where you are now, perhaps in your personal or professional life. Maybe a favorite class you took, an immersion trip you participated in, or even a personal encounter the other day. Offer gratitude for that moment.
Crystal Catalan serves as the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Presentation High School in San Jose, CA. She has degrees from University of San Diego and Eastern University, and previously served as a missioner with Cabrini Mission Corps in New York, the Philippines, Swaziland, and Radnor, PA at Cabrini University. She is currently pursuing her masters in pastoral ministries with an emphasis in restorative justice and chaplaincy at Santa Clara University.