Stay Awake!

Matthew 24:42-51
1 Thess 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,
Be steadfast to receive His prize.

(Jesus said to His disciples,) “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of 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? Blessed be that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 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 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

Jesus chose not to reveal His Second Coming in order to test our fidelity, and so that all His followers will be constantly prepared – not necessarily to watch for His return – but to guard against complacency and negligence, and against 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 our daily meditation 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, through the reception of the sacraments. The sacraments are a strong deterrent against evil influences. For instance, the sacrament of Penance reconciles us to God, and gives us a stronger resolve not to sin again. Then the Holy Eucharist nourishes our spirit, and fortifies us to be more vigilant. Last, but not the least, God wants us to be active in our renewal community. He wants us to take care of all those entrusted to us (to give them the food of God’s Word) so that we may be found worthy stewards of His household.

Let us 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. We have the example of the great Manny Pacquiao, who always gives his best in discipline and training when he prepares for every encounter in the ring. The highest prize is reserved only for champions. What soul then, knowing he only gave a token of his time and talent to serve God’s kingdom here on earth, and was never really vigilant in his Christian responsibilities could boldly claim the greatest prize in 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 guided Your Holy Spirit, so that we may grow and be worthy of Your love. Shield us from the enticements of this world, that we may remain alert for Him until the Last Day. Amen.

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