A Flood, Kidnapper, & Thief
#FloodKidnapperThief is the podcast for December 1, 2019, A Flood, Kidnapper, & Thief walk into a bar…is how Fr. Kurowski starts his podcast. See where it ends. Listen here FREE and find out more: Download it into your phone. #Matthew24 #Advent #Flood #Noah #Rapture #Locks #Thief EndTimes #SecondComing #Parousia
Full Text of Podcast, Open Here (For our Deaf and H/H Brethren)
For listener supported My Spiritual Advisor, this is Fr. Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 12/1/2019 The 1st Sunday of Advent.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 24:36-44.
“A flood, a kidnapper, and a thief walked into a bar…,” is how we could start our journey today into this passage from the Gospel of Matthew. Each, the flood, the kidnapper, and the thief, mark a suddenness of tragedy. So, as the world has just binged on Turkey and shopping, we Christians enter the Season of Advent and the New Year of the Church, faced with the stark suddenness of the return of Christ. The Gospel of Matthew for today asks a simple question, “Are you ready for the Lord to come?” Let’s unpack this.
First, Happy New Year! Today begins Advent, the first Season of the Christian Year. We begin a new year of a three year cycle of readings for Mass on this Sunday every year. We label them creatively “Year A, Year B, and Year C” (clear throat) of the Lectionary, or readings at Mass. We are in Year A now. Year A features the Gospel of Matthew, which has strong Hebrew undertones. It is thought to have been patterned after the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The focus is Jesus as “Son of God” who is the full interpreter of the Law and the Prophets. This focus is different by shades from the Gospel of Luke who focuses on the poor and outcast, the Gospel we are leaving for a bit.
The color of Advent is purple, the same color we display at Lent, which represents repentance (and royalty amazingly). If we are preparing for Jesus to come again this season, then it would stand to reason that we ought to take stock of our lives. We ought to do an examination of conscience, and as we will see the people confess to John the Baptist next week, we should go to Confession to prepare ourselves for the Coming of Jesus to renew the world. Who would like to be caught without having been cleansed of our sin when Jesus comes to judge us?
We tend to gloss over the Coming of Christ Again. We are so busy with our daily lives, of coping with aging, running our kids here and there, working at jobs which consume our lives that we do not really realize how suddenly the water is upon us in a flood. I meant to put in the back up sump pump. I meant to get flood insurance. I meant to move out of this flood plain. I meant to move our family pictures out of the basement. I meant to do this and I meant to do that. Somehow when the flood comes, all those intentions do not mean a thing. The water is there and it has done its destructive work.
I went down to the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina, I think, five times, if I am not mistaken. What did the most damage was the “storm surge” or the water that was pushed inland from the Gulf. It was over 30 feet deep over Waveland, MS, where the Northeast eye of the storm hit. There were just a handful of buildings that remained standing after that water didn’t just come, it just appeared deep and in full force. Once it started, there was not time to get out. Suddenly, what was truly important appeared to the people. To a person, the survivors all recounted that fact. “I am just glad I have my life,” they said.
Things were not important. So, in this passage, when the flood of Jesus’ Coming Again comes suddenly, are the material things of this earth truly important? What is truly important? Where should you be spending your time and money?
Much is made of the kidnapping scenes here. Because there is no direct mention of kidnappers, but people in the field who disappear is mentioned. An entire area of theology was developed in the 18 and 1900s that used this passage to talk of a “Rapture.” Well, there is only one big problem with “Rapture” theology and that is the heavens and earth are not going to be destroyed by God and replaced with an ethereal spiritual existence. We do not believe that. We say in the Creed, “I believe in the Resurrection of the Body.” That Resurrection is a transformation of our bodies that we bury which will have been renewed like Christ’s body was renewed at his resurrection. The earth will be renewed, says Revelation 21. The “new heaven and new earth” is “new” as in a new hairstyle: same hair, new look. So, this idea of a ‘rapture’ where some are left behind on earth to be destroyed is wrong and unscriptural. This passage in Matthew about people in the field is about kidnapping, not rapture.
In action movies, the favorite camera shot is the one where it is like, “Now we see them. Now we don’t. What the heck happened?!?” Why didn’t I say what I meant to say? Why didn’t I tell them I loved them? Why didn’t I give them what I wanted to give them? This kind of thinking should apply to the captive as well as those searching for the captive. How many times have we heard of the texts from people in active shooting events and in kidnapping sending a final text, “I love you. I am sorry.” Suddenly, the actions we take mean nothing unless our actions say, “I love you.” Suddenly, the actions we take mean nothing unless they say, “I am sorry” and “I forgive you.”
I had a problem with would be thieves with a house that I flipped. I called my mentor who said, “Welcome to property management.” On the Facebook Group for where I live, “What’s up Munster,” they are always posting about cars broken into because people didn’t lock them. We must always stand ready and be prepared because we do not know the hour or the time when the thief will come.
This is another safeguard for Christians. We do not know when Jesus will come. We cannot delay our preparations, but must put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, like the lock on the shed and car door. It is always there. It is always resisting the thief who will steal our faith. It is always prepared and always ready. So, we, too, should be.
Are we praying every day? Are we reading the Bible every day? Are we bridling our tongue every day? Are we going to Church every Sunday? Are we going to Confession once per month? Are we serving in one ministry of the Church? Are we tithing our gross income to the Church? Are we making decisions based upon our faith and not just our self-interest? Are we serving God or serving ourselves? Are we ready for the flood, the kidnapper, and the thief?
A flood, a kidnapper, and a thief walk into a church and teach us that we need to prioritize what is truly important, what should truly be said, and when and how long we should be ready. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are important. Love and mercy should be spoken. We should always be ready. Happy New Year! Amen.
This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2019.
Donate $2 for This Podcast
Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian