The life of a firefighter or any first responder is a life of dedication; they must give fully of themselves to their lives of service. They must always be ready to answer a call at a moment’s notice, waiting for the next call. First responders are responsible, because the lives of others rely on their responsible actions in the midst of a crisis. Their responsible behavior enables them to remain calm as they respond to a call. For the first responder to be generous in their service, ready to answer the call at a moment’s notice and responsible in their behavior requires a great deal of training and self-discipline. First responders are ready and waiting for the next call.

Ready and waiting, that is the required posture for all Christian people. What are we waiting for? We are waiting for the master’s return. While we wait, we are to be people who respond to the needs of others by being generous and giving alms. We are to be ready at a moment’s notice for the master’s return.

If we can live out these first two requirements of faith, we then fulfill the third requirement as laid out in today’s Gospel from Luke 12:32-48: To act always with Christian responsibility. “Who, then is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.”

We are to be like the first responder waiting for the next emergency call, ready at a moment’s notice for the return of Jesus Christ. “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.” Like a first responder, we have to be trained and ready when our Lord Jesus Christ comes calling.

This training begins for us as children, learning the Golden Rule: “Love God with all your mind, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.” This is Christian first-responder training 101. So often that is where the training ends and we don’t recognize our need for continual conversion in our lives. So often once we have received the Sacraments of initiation, Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, we think that is all we need to be ready. If we applied that type of logic to all forms of training and preparation no matter what field we worked in, we would be in trouble.

That would mean first responders would not need to learn new techniques on how to save lives;  doctors would not need to learn new medical procedures; pharmacists would not have to learn about new medicines; and teachers would not have to learn about an ever-changing world. You see where I am going here.

So why then do we become indifferent and complacent about our faith and readiness for the coming of Jesus Christ?

I believe it is because we have not been inspired in our faith and that would be the fault of guys like me who make this their life’s work.

The First Reading from Wisdom 18:6-9, speaks of this inspiration as it retells the Exodus of the people of Israel out of Egypt. They were inspired by Moses and filled with hope in God’s promise of freedom and new life. That inspiration enabled them to be ready at a moment’s notice. When called, they were ready to go. Readiness requires faith and faith is the acknowledgement of the reality of God as the Letter to the Hebrews reminds us, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” (Heb.  11: 1-2, 8-19)

Our ability to be ready in a moment’s notice means we will be living out our faith as we are identified as God’s people. Blessed are the people the Lord has chosen to be his own. (Psalm33)