The Absent Lord (Matthew 25:31-46)

In Matthew 24-25, Jesus tells 4 consecutive parables that share some common threads. They are judgment scenarios in which a "lord" is absent for a time, others are left with tasks to do in his absence, and upon his return some are ready while others are not. The questions for the others upon his return are in relation to their "stewardship" of the tasks put in their charge. But if we read these parables closely, we realize that the lord has not been absent after all. He's actually still been among them in disguise...