For Lack of Vigilance, Disaster Strikes

Matthew 24: 42-51
1 Thes 3:7-13/Ps 90:3-4,12-14,17

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
(Matthew 24:42)

Be vigilant in all your ways,
Evil lurks Like a hungry lion;
A man who goes off ill-prepared
Invites disaster to be preyed on.

Jesus said, “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unkown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”


The lesson in today’s Gospel is about being prepared and alert. Prudence dictates that we must always be security-conscious against the threat of thieves and robbers. But there are also times when the threat to one’s home may not come from the outside but from within. As in the case of a fire caused by faulty wiring or a leaking gas cannister. Or even water from the bathroom flooding the whole house.

We had stayed at my brother-in-law’s apartment in Laguna to attend the wake of a close relative, and condole with her bereaved husband and four young children. Rene’ lived alone, and was happy that he could host us for several days during the vigil. In this small town of Rizal, the piped-in water would lose pressure and stop flowing by nine o’clock in the morning. The water would be back in service again in the afternoon. It happened that one of us forgot to close the tap in the bathroom after taking a bath and filling the big plastic container that blocked the floor drain. It was already evening when we arrived home from the vigil to a watery welcome. For lack of vigilance, our vigil was extended, as we had to remove the floor matting and spread old newspapers all over his house to soak up the water and dry the floor.

We must be alert and watchful at all times, not only to withstand the trials and temptations of this world, but also to acquire the discipline and formation necessary to be worthy of God’s kingdom. What athlete who has not given his best in discipline and training for an Olympic competition would dare believe he stands to win the prize reserved only for champions? What soul, knowing he only gave a token of his time and talent to serve God’s kingdom on earth, and was never really vigilant in his Christian responsibilities could boldly claim the greatest prize in all eternity?

Teach us, o Lord, to make each day count that we may gain wisdom of heart. (Psalm 90:12) Make us always aware of our weaknesses, and be alert to the proddings of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may grow and be worthy of Your love. Amen.

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