Vigilance: Keeping Evil at Bay

Matthew 24: 42-51
1 Thes 3:7-13 / Psa 90

If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
(Matthew 24:43)

Let not our will by sin be swayed,
Be resolute and firm in Christ;
His judgment will not be delayed,
Stay worthy to receive His prize.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour, and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:42-51)

Reflection

I believe the main reason why Jesus would rather not reveal His Second Coming was for all the faithful to be always vigilant — not necessarily to watch for His return — but to guard against complacency and negligence, and the devious schemes and traps of the evil one.

All Christians believe in the Resurrection at the last day, because this is the hope nurtured by our faith in God’s Word. But God does not want us to just sit and wait; He wants us to be on our toes, ready at all times to spring into action when it is called for.

How are we expected to be vigilant at all times? First of all, by constant communication with God in fervent prayer. Temptation does not come near to a person who is absorbed in deep prayer. Secondly, by meditative reading of the Word of God, especially the Gospels. We may not be conscious of it at first, but the indwelling Spirit will bring the power of the Holy Scriptures into our lives once we make reading the Bible a daily habit. Thirdly, the reception of the sacraments makes for a strong deterrent against “taking it easy” with our faith. The sacrament of Reconciliation cleans our minds and hearts of all doubts and recriminations, and the Holy Eucharist gives our spirit the nourishment and strength it needs to be vigilant. Last, but not the least, let us be active in our renewal community. There is nothing like a support group that inspires and encourages us to be steadfast in our faith. We all need each other in our Brotherhood because we draw strength from one another. Let us therefore take advantage of this special privilege given to us by the Lord.

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 a great sports 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 eternity?

Dear God, as we await the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray for Your Mighty Hand to shield us from the enticements of this world, that we may remain alert for Him until the Last Day. Amen.

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