The question is all the more serious since it is impossible to know when He will arrive.
What will you be wearing when you meet the Lord?The disciples evidently liked to talk about this question with Jesus. However, despite how dedicated they were to Him, Jesus did not give them any privileged knowledge about the final hour, the day of the “return” — no information whatsoever. Instead, what he did was share a beautiful lesson.
Jesus says we should keep ourselves ready to serve “wearing our service clothes and with the light on.” This service garment (which literally, means “girded loins”), is actually the Passover garment that the Hebrews wore when they departed from Egypt (Exodus 12:11): the clothing of a people ready to leave, freed from their human slavery, still living in the world, yet already turned to the Lord. It is a Paschal garment, an almost liturgical, baptismal garment: a white garment and a Paschal candle (like the “lit candle” that represents hope) is precisely the garment of the Church for awaiting the return of the Lord.
Be ready for service
Jesus invokes a time in the Church, after his resurrection and ascension, when the true disciples who have recognized his coming and rejoice in salvation, are already living in expectation of His return. For us to be able to share in this great day, it is best that He finds us attentive and ready. Attentive servants were declared “blessed” by Jesus.
What is important in this story of the Lord’s return is not any fear or anxiety of being surprised at some unexpected hour, as if God were waiting for just that moment to catch us off guard. No, what is important is the happiness of the return, that we remain “attentive in love” as St. Elizabeth of Trinity beautifully expressed it. Be it midnight or the wee hours, it is never too late for a loving heart that awaits its loved one.
Jesus told his disciples, “Be ready, with your service clothes on and your lamps lit. Be like servants awaiting their master’s return from a wedding feast, so that as soon as he arrives and knocks on the door they open it. Blessed are the servants whom their master finds awaiting his arrival. Believe me, He will change into service clothes, make the servants sit at the table, and He will serve them. Yes, blessed are those servants whom their master finds ready, even if he comes at midnight or in the wee hours. In the same way, you must be prepared, because the Son of Man will come when you least expect it.”
Brother Dominique-Marie Dauzet