But you may sure of this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the watch, and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you must be ready too, for the Son of Man is coming at a time when you do not expect him.


(Matthew 24:43-44)




Among the ruins of Pompei
there are markings on the wall
of what was once a tavern.
These jottings show the credit
extended to customers.

All accounts are marked paid
except one -
a debt that will be forever unpaid.
For one day
with staggering suddenness
Vesuvius erupted,
the lava flowed
and all in Pompei
was frozen at its particular stage
of accomplishment
or non-accomplishment.

We have debts
of kindness
to be paid to our fellowman,
and we
must not miss the chance
to meet these debts now
while we are able;
for the danger is that
these obligations
will be unfulfilled:
forever outstanding
against us.