‘Where is the Life we have lost in living?’ asks the Chorus in T S Eliot’s The Rock.The Jesus of Matthew’s gospel is asking much the same question as Eliot. He is making much the same observation as Henry David Thoreau, ‘Most [people] lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’
We are invited to find life in our living and to sing the songs that are in us. We are to be agents of our own future rather than unthinking participants in the inevitable round of daily activities that have preoccupied humans from time immemorial.
Matthew’s Jesus invites us to contemplate the basileia or kin-dom verities even as we attend to the demands of the present. He tells us to be ‘awake’, to be ‘ready’ all the time, not because death or the end of the world are around the corner, but because we need to recognise the multiple ‘advents’ or arrivals of the Christ, the Human One, calling us beyond self-absorption to life.
We need the grace to see visions and to dream dreams that make for justice and peace and that permit us to walk more freely in the light of our God. We seek the grace to see God’s word as did the prophet Isaiah in the first reading (Isa 2:1-5), to put our energy into creating life-generating systems that enable us to move forward in the paths of gospel compassion and love.