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Come as you are

There is the joke about the parish priest who was in his office. The assistant priest came in and said to him, “There is a man here who claims he is Jesus Christ. What should I do?” And the parish priest replied, “Look busy.”

Sadly, some people live as if this joke was actually the truth. They put off thinking about their duties as Christians, hoping that they will have a little time before Jesus Christ does come.

They defer being good Christians until some future time, when they are older, or not so busy, or when the mortgage is paid off, or at some other imaginary time.

There is a better story, more a parable than a joke, about the woman who asked her housekeeper, “What would you do if you heard that Jesus Christ is coming now?” And the housekeeper, who was cheerfully washing the dishes, said, “I would continue washing the dishes.”

This is a better story, because it points to a good outlook on life. A good outlook is one where we do the best we can all the time, in our ordinary life. If Jesus comes and finds us washing the dishes, or driving our taxi or whatever our job might be, then we can greet him just as we are.

We will have nothing to be ashamed of. We will be able to greet Jesus with a smile, because we are doing what we should be doing.

There is no need to panic when Jesus comes. There is no need to hide or to be ashamed. If we have done the best that we can do in our ordinary lives, then we can greet our brother and saviour with a smile.

The Book of Proverbs makes interesting reading. All cultures have proverbs which carry the wisdom or traditions of the people. Our selection from the Book of Proverbs today must be thousands of years old, and yet it is still good wisdom.

The woman who lives well every day will surely be busy enough, and not wasting time with gossip and conspicuous consumption. There are things to do. Thousands of years ago there were productive tasks, like spinning and weaving, which had to be done, but today it might be other duties.

There are always people who need our care. The needy are always around us, in need of the help such a woman can give. Such a woman will make a wonderful wife and she need not be ashamed at the end of time.

Of course, it works for husbands too. Happy is the husband of a really good wife and happy is the wife of a really good husband.

So when the Lord comes, we have no need to pretend that we are busy. If we have been quietly and cheerfully busy with whatever is the calling of our lives, then we need not pretend.

And when the Lord comes, we have no need to suddenly pull out our unused rosary beads and pretend that we are prayerful. The Lord already knows who we are.

And the Lord really loves us and his desire is that we come and join in his happiness.