42 Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come. 43 But know this ye, that if the goodman of the house knew at what hour the thief would come, he would certainly watch, and would not suffer his house to be broken open. 44 Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.
Origen: “The master of the household” is the understanding, “the house” is the soul, “the thief” is the Devil. The thief is also every contrary doctrine which enters the soul of the unwary by other than the natural entrance, breaking into the house, and pulling down the soul’s natural fences, that is, the natural powers of understanding, it enters the breach, and spoils the soul.
Sometimes one takes the thief in the act of breaking in, and seizing him, stabs him with a word, and slays him. And the thief comes not in the day-time, when the soul of the thoughtful man is illuminated with the Sun of righteousness, but in the night, that is, in the time of prevailing wickedness; in which, when one is plunged, it is possible, though he have not the power of the sun, that he may be illuminated by some rays from the Word, as from a lamp; continuing still in evil, yet having a better purpose, and watchfulness, that this his purpose should not be broken through.
Gregory: The thief breaks into the house through the neglect of the master of the house, when the spirit has slept upon its post of guard, and death has come in unawares into the dwelling house of our flesh, and finding the lord of the house sleeping, slays him; that is, the spirit, little providing for coming evils, is taken off unprepared, to punishment, by death.
Chrysostom: In this He rebukes such as have less care for their souls, than they have of guarding their money against an expected thief.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).