We have different reactions to people at our gates. Babies are the most interesting – when they see people at the gate, they jump up and down, shout with glee and giggle uncontrollably. Grown-ups do not comport in the same way even if the one at the gate is a family member or friend. And specially if the one standing at the gate is a bill collector or the landlord, how wary, cautious and fearful we become!

The readings of the last Sunday of ordinary time paint the scenario of the end of time, of judgment, and of the return of the Lord, victorious in the heavens and conqueror of the earth. How do we feel when we read the passages that depict the Last Coming or the Final Judgment? Are we overcome with excitement like babies? Or do we shudder in apprehension or fear, adults that we are?

In the midst of all the apocalyptic language, the gospel gives us the simple truth about this prophetic event: “know that he is near, at the gates.” The end is not about destruction, judgment, punishment, and condemnation. More than anything else, it is about the Lord Jesus approaching the gates, not of our homes but of our hearts.

The important question therefore is readiness to meet, to welcome and to receive the Lord in our lives. If our faith resembles the attitude of babies, the coming of the Lord is a motive for gladness because the one we love is here again. But if our faith, which is understandably feeble, is that of most adults, the mere presence of the Lord at our gate is an annoyance, disturbance, or intrusion into our affairs.

While today’s gospel situates the coming of the Lord at the end of history, does not the Lord truly come to us day in and day out, in every moment of our lives? Thus, when we try to live our lives well, we welcome the Lord joyfully and courageously in the most common and banal events of everyday, as if these were the most exciting time of our lives. But when we close our hearts to the Lord, his presence is unfelt, unrecognized and unappreciated even if his blessings surround and sustain our daily lives.

He is near, at the gates: reflect on how you react to this truth of faith.