Jesus is now asking something else of the Pharisees (and us) in today’s Gospel: not just vigilance about when the Master will return, or vigilance about what we do with what the Master has given, but vigilance about the times in which we live. We are to watch the world around us, but not just as disinterested observers. We watch as people who are impacted by the world around us. The whole reason Jesus’ audience would learn to gauge the weather by the sky or predict rain based on the wind was because their lives depended on it. Farmers, sailors, and countless others needed to know if the next day’s weather would be good or bad because that was their whole world.
Our own lives likewise depend on the times in which we live—be the times good or bad. The world we live in will impact us, and impact our relationship with Jesus. We do not need to try and accept it all as good or condemn it all as bad, any more than the farmer condemns all rain as good or all sunlight as bad. The farmer knows his fields and knows his crops. He knows when to put up a tarp, and knows when to let the rain fall. That is our task as we go through the world—we must know our souls, know the times we live in, and know what the one is doing to the other. Does this trend help or hinder my growth in faith, hope, and charity? Today, Jesus tells us not to accept everything we see or condemn everything we see, but to assess everything we see.