Therefore keep watch, because you do not know at what hour your Lord will come (ἔρχεται).” (Mt 24: 42)

This passage, in which Christ tells me to “keep watch,” or “pay attention,” is usually translated as an admonition about the future, because we do not know when the Lord “will come” at His final “coming.” However, here Christ actually uses the present tense; He says, to be precise, that we don’t know when He “comes” (ἔρχεται).

The Lord “comes” to me in unexpected ways; in moments of solitude and through other people, both friends and strangers, created in His image, and through all creation, when I pay attention. Nowadays it is easy not to pay attention, when we are engrossed in our phones, oblivious to our physical surroundings so much of the time. We can be oblivious to the others riding with us in the train, or in the elevator, or even to those sitting with us at the dinner-table. Even when we’re alone, walking in the park or waiting for a friend at a café, we can easily escape the moment of solitude to check the ever-present mobile device.

This weekend let me take time to be more present, to “keep watch” for how my Lord comes to me in my immediate surroundings, be it in the changing autumn colors, the late-blooming roses, or in the various people I encounter. Let Him be present to me, and I to Him, in the places and people He reveals to me today.

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