The Prize for Vigilance

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

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
(Matthew 24:44)

In waiting do not be dismayed,
But be steadfast and firm in Christ;
His judgment will not be delayed,
And we will soon receive His prize.

(Jesus said,) “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. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:42-51)


The main reason why the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus must remain a mystery is 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 the opportunity warrants it.

How do we dispose ourselves to be vigilant at all times? First, by constant communication with God in fervent prayer. Temptation does not come near to a person who is absorbed in deep prayer. Second, 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 God’s Word into our lives once we make reading the Bible a daily habit. Third, a regular reception of the sacraments. These make for a strong deterrent against “taking it easy” with our faith. The sacrament of Penance 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, by being 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. We can only thank God for this special privilege given to us to strengthen our faith in our community.

Let us be vigilant then in our faith 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. After all, what Olympic aspirant who has not given his best in discipline and training for this great sports competition would dare believe he stands to win the prize reserved only for champions? In the same way, 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 guidance to keep us away from the enticements of this world, as well as Your constant reminder for us to stay awake and be vigilant for Him until the Last Day. Amen.

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