Vigilance Discipline & Prayer

Luke 21: 34-36
Dan 7:15-27 / Dan 3:82-87

For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:35-36)

Let no carousing or drunkenness,
Lead to spiritual weaknesses;
Our defense against the lure of sin
Are perseverance and discipline.

Jesus said to his disciples:“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Reflection

Jesus knows our weaknesses. In today’s Gospel, He urges us to be vigilant in order to persevere till the end in affirming true life and denying the illusions of material pleasures. The Lord knew then as He does now that it is not an easy matter to be His follower. At this point in His life, He Himself was going to face His impending passion and death at the hands of Jewish religious authorities. The time was coming when He would demonstrate how it was to obey the will of the Father until the very end despite tremendous injustice and persecution. He told His disciples: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.” (21:34) Like an unexpected stroke or heart attack, no one is immune “who lives on the face of the earth.” Especially those who love the revelry of wine, women and song in nitespots, hardly getting any exercise because they wake up late in the morning, and are stressed out with a sedentary lifestyle in the office. As one doctor commented, they are like walking time bombs. Anytime, they can just go off.

It is our weak human nature that makes us vulnerable to various influences around us. We are caught between the twin horns of “carousing and drunkenness”, and “the anxieties of daily life”. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, man has the tendency to fall into bad habits that the devil constantly foists on him. We all need the discipline and perseverance of regular prayers, meditation of Scriptures, good deeds, and interaction with other members of our community in order to be always vigilant against the devil’s tricks. We can never trust our own capabilities alone, however noble or unselfish our inclinations are. We need God’s grace to fortify us at all times. We need the presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily routine just as much as when we come together to praise and worship Him.

As we prepare for the coming of the Lord, let us temper our celebrations with prayer, meditation of God’s Word, and charity towards the poor. These never fail to make this season more meaningful. They will certainly put us in good standing before the Son of Man when we come before Him in judgment.

Father God, on this eve of the first Sunday of Advent, please let Your Holy Spirit keep us vigilant and prayerful, well prepared for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, for it is during times of celebration that we become complacent and vulnerable to the temptation of the evil one. Help us, Father, to be worthy of His coming. Amen.

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