It seems strange to have this Gospel passage at this time of year. Being ready for the Lord’s coming is a familiar theme in Advent, but here it follows on from the story we had last week about the rich man thinking to himself that he had enough crops and goods stored up for many years, only to be told his life would end that very night.
The point of this Gospel passage is that not just that we don’t know when the Lord is going to come again, bringing the whole world to an end, but also that none of us knows when we are going to meet him face to face. One thing we do know is that our life on this earth is going to end sometime, and that knowledge should affect the way we live each day.
Just as Abraham and Sarah lived their lives in the faith and hope that God would fulfil the promises he had made to them, so we are to live in the faith and hope that when the joys and challenges of this life are over, we will enter into a new life won for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus.
If we are suffering, as the Christians to whom the Letter to the Hebrews was written were suffering, this faith and hope is a consolation and an encouragement, because it carries the conviction that our suffering will be replaced by joy. If life is going really well for us, our faith and hope tells us that what we are enjoying now is only a shadow of the joys that await us.
So we go through life fully committed to the joys and sorrows of every day, but we never lose sight of why we are here and where we are going.