On the contrary, we must be very hopeful - - Christ has given us a very clear, daily objective towards which we must work. The objective is to “be prepared” at all times - - not in fear, but in the hope of being ready to receive our Saviour, Jesus. We must also be very concerned that we are doing all we can to welcome Jesus now, so that he will welcome us later.
Keep in mind the context of these so-called “end time” passages in scripture. Just before our gospel today, Christ is weeping over Jerusalem for not recognising him and accepting him. Then comes the warning to “be prepared,” followed by two parables on preparedness. Finally comes the last judgment scene, when all people are judged by how they recognised and responded to Jesus in the needy ones of their daily meeting. This is one of those “Just as…So…” episodes. Just as the people in Noah’s time had ample warning, still they did not follow the call to prepare their hearts; so they experienced the devastation of “the flood.” So, just as the people and leaders in Jerusalem ignored Jesus’ appeal for covenant love and the removal of barriers between God and Others, so they experienced the devastation of the loss of “the temple” and “the land.” In this First Sunday of Advent, we hear Jesus repeat his loving concern, his warning: “just as… so you had better prepare your heart, repent, and serve my needy people.” This is a message of hope, not of despair.
There is no way we will know precisely when that “final hour” will come about, and Jesus tells us that this information will not be revealed to us. The present times are the “time of the Spirit and of witness” about the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. In the meantime we walk in faith and in the hope that inspires us to serve all of God’s people.