Today's Gospel (Luke 12: 39-48) is the parable in which the Lord cautions his followers that they must be careful not to allow themselves to become lax and forget that the Master will return and they will have to answer for their stewardship. Indeed, He assures them that at "an unexpected day and at an unknown hour" the Master will return.
This struck me particularly today, as I have just finished celebrating the Mass of Christian Burial for a 48 year old parishioner. Chris was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend, who was very active in the parish. His battle with brain cancer, while not successful in defeating the disease, was a powerful testimony to his faith. He truly lived the Gospel in a way that showed everyone he was ready for the Master's return. I was humbled and privileged to be a part of his journey home to the Father, and have learned a great deal from him about being prepared myself to answer the Lord's call.
How can we make ourselves ready for the Master's return? What is expected of us? Well, when you look at the parable, Jesus indicates that we have to live in such a way that shows we realize that we are merely stewards and not the ones who have the ultimate right to decide things. Our treatment of others is also key to being ready, since we will have to answer to the Master for the way we interacted with the people who are part of our lives.
Being ready is not something we have to do once and then we are set. No, it is a constant state of readiness that is expected. Since we do not know "the day nor the hour", we have to make sure we are not caught off guard. Our lives, like that of our brother Chris, should be consistently lived in the way that God expects. If we try to do this, should the Lord suddenly (or even not so suddenly) return for us, we will not be surprised and not upset by His reaction.
So don't delay - get ready. Who knows, it just may be today.