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The Last Hour of Work Is the Most Important Hour.
Why would anyone hire a worker for one hour? The reason is my brother. He is the best finish carpenter I know. I asked him to build me a lectern for the church. He asked for details. I told him I wanted a nice one. He built me an octagon cantilevered lectern. It is so big you feel like you walked into a room. It is a work of art. The only flaw in his work is that he never quite finishes the job. He leaves all the tools in a big pile, throws the paintbrushes in the slop sink, and walks away. So, for every job he ever did for me, I would join him for the last hour. I would put away the tools, clean the brushes, sweep up the sawdust, and put the last coat of varnish. Do you think that the guys working in the field all day in the sun are going to put away the tools, fix the flat tire on the wheel barrel, secure the harvest food from animals, and shut the barn door? That is why you hire a worker for one hour. The most important hour is the last hour because that is when you finish the job.
One of my favorite characters in the bible is Joseph of Arimathea. Why? He arrives on the scene at the last hour of the last day of Jesus’ life. And it is not an easy hour. He had to secure permission from Pilate, which meant lots of government bureaucracy. Once he got permission, he had to supply a burial cloth, ointment, and provide a tomb, all of which are costly items. Then, he had to take the nails out of the hands. How hard was that? The hands that held a dead girl’s hand before she came back to life. The hands that touched the leper, hands that broke the two loaves and fed thousands, the hands that made mud that cured a blind man. That emotionally draining task will be followed up with the burial procedure that must be done before the Sabbath begins. This is the most important job in the Gospels because in order to have an empty tomb on the Resurrection day, you need to fill the tomb. None of the other disciples stayed to the end to finish the job.
Not long before Jesus died, He told His followers “to be perfect as My Heavenly Father is perfect.” The word “perfect” also can mean “finish.” It is the same word that Jesus used before he died, “It is finished.” Maybe Jesus meant to say, “finish the job, just as I finish the job and as my father finishes the job.” I will finish life as a believer, I will finish life as a churchgoer, I will finish life as a religious priest.
The last mile of the marathon is the hardest. When I arrived at mile marker 25, and I had one more to go, I said to myself, “Well, I got this far; I may as well finish.” When I crossed the finish line, I hunched over to catch my breath. A volunteer came over to me and asked if I was okay. I said, “I never felt better.” The last hour of work is the most important hour because that is when we finish the job.Back to All Homilies