Be Alert! (readings from the Gospels on mindfulness)

“As regards to exactly when the Day of Judgment will happen, no one knows, not angels, not the Son. Only the Father knows.”

MT 24:36, MK 13:32

“That time will be just like it was in the time of Noah and the flood. Right until the flood happened, people went on like they always had, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, right up until the day Noah boarded the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all, sweeping away all their possessions. They didn’t know what was going to happen to them until it happened.”

MT 24:37-39a, LK 17: 26-27

“Just like it was in Lot’s time, people went on with their normal lives, doing all the usual things they always did. But right after Lot left Sodom, the whole town was destroyed by a rain of fire and sulfur from heaven. It will be just as sudden and surprising as that was to them when the Son of Man is revealed.”

LK 17:28-30

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing in the holy place, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader take note of this) then everyone in Judea must flee to the mountains. When you see that Jerusalem is surrounded by armies, know that it is time for its destruction. When that happens, a man standing on his roof must not come down to get anything out of his house. Also a man out in the fields should not return home to get his clothing. Those inside Jerusalem must escape, and those in the country must not enter the city because the days of vengeance have come to fulfill all the prophecies.”

MT 24:15-18, MK 13:14-16, LK 17:31, LK 21:20-22

“Remember what happened to Lot’s wife!”

LK 17:32

“It will be very hard for women who are pregnant or nursing when this happens. Pray that you won’t have to escape in winter or on the Sabbath. For this will be a time of great trouble and stress, unlike anything that has happened since the creation of this world until now, and will never happen again! No one would survive that time if God didn’t limit those days, but he did limit them for the sake of those he chose. They will be cut down by swords and taken captive into all the nations, and the nations will trample Jerusalem until the end of that era.”

MT 24:19-22, MK 13:17-20, LK 21:24

“The coming of the Son of Man will be like this – two men will be in the field. One will disappear, and the other will remain. Two women will be grinding grain at the mill. One will disappear, and one will remain. Two people will be together in a bed. One will disappear, and the other will remain. Therefore, be on guard, because you don’t know when your Lord is coming.”

MT 24:39b-42, LK 17:34-36

His disciples asked “Where, Lord?”
Jesus answered “The vultures will gather around the corpses.”

LK 17:37, MT 24:28

“Be ready to work and make sure your lamps are lit. You must be like servants waiting for their master to come back from the wedding banquet so they can immediately open the door for him when he knocks. The servants who are alert when he arrives will be blessed. Mark my words – he will prepare himself, have them sit at the table, and come serve them himself. If he arrives in the middle of the night or near dawn and finds them waiting for him, they will be blessed.”

LK 12:35-38

“Know this – if the homeowner had known exactly when the thief was going to break into his house, he would have stayed at home and stayed awake so he could prevent his house from being robbed. You need to be ready in the same way, because the Son of Man will appear when you least expect it to happen.”

MT 24:43-44, LK 12:39-40

“Watch! Be alert and pray! You have no idea when it will happen. It is like a man who went on a journey and left his house in the hands of his servants. He left tasks for each of them and ordered the doorkeeper to keep watch. Be alert then, because you don’t know when the master will return – it could be any time of the day or night. If you aren’t alert, he could suddenly arrive and find you asleep. I say to you and to everyone: Be alert!”

MK 13:33-37

“The kingdom of heaven is like ten bridesmaids who went out to meet the groom with their lamps. Only half of them were wise and took oil with them. The groom took a while in coming and all the bridesmaids fell asleep. They were suddenly awoken by a shout from someone announcing that the groom was coming. All the bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The ones who hadn’t prepared asked the others for oil because their lamps were going out. The ones who had prepared said ‘No, because there won’t be enough for all of us if we give you any.’ They told them to go buy more oil for themselves. While they were gone, the groom showed up and only the bridesmaids who had prepared were able to go with him to the wedding feast. The door was locked after them. When the rest of the bridesmaids arrived, they asked to be let in. The groom refused to open the door, saying ‘I don’t know you!’ Therefore, always be ready, because you don’t know the hour or the day.”

MT 25:1-13

(All words are my own paraphrases of the Gospel. Due to copyright restrictions, I’ve had to reword everything. I had originally posted this separately as part of the Condensed Gospel project. While attempting to sort the stories in order and make sure I had everything from the Gospels included in the right places, I felt that I’d over-condensed a part of this section. While one of my goals is to have no repetition in the Condensed Gospel, another one is to have everything included in a very readable way. Sometimes both goals cannot be achieved in the same section, because there will be too many threads unwoven and rewoven together. This second version is the compromise.)

Jesus and Zacchaeus

Jesus entered and traveled through Jericho. The chief tax collector there was named Zacchaeus, and he was quite wealthy. A large crowd had gathered to see Jesus but Zacchaeus was having a hard time spotting him because he was very short. He ran ahead along the path that Jesus was going to take and climbed up a sycamore tree. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up into the tree and said “Zacchaeus, come down quickly because I must stay at your home today.”

He quickly climbed down from the tree and joyfully welcomed Jesus. Everyone who saw this began to complain “He’s going to stay with a sinner!”

But Zacchaeus stood and said “Listen, I’ll hand over half of everything I have to the poor, Lord, and if I’ve overcharged anyone I’ll repay them four times the amount!”

“Salvation has come to this house today,” said Jesus, “because he also is a son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to find and rescue the lost.”

LK 19:1-10

The Journey to Jerusalem

Jesus decided to travel to Jerusalem when the time drew near for him to return to the Father. He sent messengers on ahead, and they stopped in a Samaritan village on the way to find a place for him to rest. But the villagers didn’t welcome him because he didn’t want to stay there, but to continue on to Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John realized this, they said “Teacher, do you want us to call down the fire of heaven to destroy them, as Elijah once did?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, saying “You don’t know the Spirit that you are a part of. The Son of Man came to save people’s lives, not destroy them.” Then they traveled on to another village.

LK 9:51-56

The coming of the Son of Man

“Just after the tribulation of those days the sun and moon will become dark, stars will fall from the skies, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. The nations will be bewildered by the roaring sea and the immense waves. People will tremble because they are afraid of what is about to happen, because everything in the sky is breaking apart.

Then they will see the signs of the Son of Man appearing among the clouds with great power and glory. He will send forth his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather up those he has called from the four winds from the ends of the earth and sky.

Many people will lament, but as for you, when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and lift up your heads, because your salvation is near.”

MT 24:29-31, MK 13:24-27, LK 21:25-28

The Transfiguration

About a week later, Jesus led Peter, John, and James up a high mountain to be alone with them. He was transformed in front of them as he was praying. His face began to shine like the sun and his clothes became radiant with a white light. Suddenly Elijah and Moses appeared in glory and began talking with Jesus about his upcoming death that was to happen in Jerusalem.

Peter said to Jesus, “Teacher, it is good that we are here! Let us make three shelters, one for each of you.” He didn’t know what he should say because they were all terrified.

While he was speaking, a bright cloud formed around them and overshadowed them. A voice came from the cloud saying “This is my beloved son, the chosen one! I take delight in him, listen to him!”

The disciples were even more terrified when they heard this voice, and they fell facedown. Then Jesus came up to them and touched them, saying “Get up. Don’t be afraid.” Then they noticed that they were alone with Jesus – Elijah and Moses were gone.

While they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus said “Don’t tell anybody about what you just saw until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” They spoke about the event only among themselves, wondering what being “raised from the dead” meant. The disciples began to question him, saying “Why do the Jewish leaders say that Elijah must come first?”

“Elijah does come first and will restore everything,” he answered. “But I tell you that Elijah has already come and they didn’t recognize him, but did whatever they wanted to him just as it was prophesied. The Son of Man is going to suffer in the same way.”

The disciples then understood that he was talking about John the Baptist.

MT 17:1-13, MK 9:2-13, LK 9:28-36

The second prediction of his death.

The crowds were amazed at everything he was doing. Then Jesus started traveling through Galilee away from the crowds. Jesus was teaching his disciples while they were there.

“Mark my words, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to men. They will kill him and he will be raised up three days later.”

They were deeply distressed and did not understand this statement because the meaning was concealed from them. They were afraid to ask him what he meant.

MT 17:22-23, MK 9:30-32, LK 9:43b-45