Today is also the Optional Memoria of St Norbert, and we greet our friends the Norbertines on their special Feast day.

From today’s New Testament reading, from 2 Timothy: ‘As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing’.

The last phrase is arresting: ‘all who have loved his appearing’. The text really does say that; the word is a form of the same word from which ‘agape’ is made. To which appearance does the text refer? Is it in the present, or still in the future? There is no neat answer, but we need to remember that the earliest Christians lived in daily expectation of the day when the Lord would appear.

In these challenging days, may we always be ready for the appearance of the Lord, both finally and in the secret place of our hearts. May He bless you this day.