Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” (Mt. 24:42) We’ve been reading a lot about the Lord returning for us…perhaps at our death or the end of the world. We don’t know exactly when it will be, so we need to be prepared at all times. These passages always get my attention.
I have to say that sometimes I feel “pretty ready” if the Lord came at that moment. I’ve been “hearing and obeying his word”, I’m on my game…loving my wife and family and friends…. I’ve been resisting temptations… prayer time is good. But to be honest, other times I’m “not so ready”……. I’m distracted, prayer is dry, I’m not so eager to do his will…. putting things off till tomorrow. I pray the Lord doesn’t catch me on a bad day.
In his homily today on this passage, the visiting priest said there’s should be two parts to our response …. on the one hand we need to be attentive and aware that it could come at any time, but secondly we need to be prepared. We may know it’s coming, but if we aren’t prepared, it doesn’t matter. He likened it to watching the Weather Channel all day and knowing that the storm is coming, but doing nothing to prepare for it …no flashlight, extra water, generator, etc. Hey we know it’s coming, but we’re not prepared.
So how do we prepare? Well, we need to be on guard, knowing that the Lord could come in 5 minutes, or tonight, or tomorrow … ”at an hour you do not expect”. The spiritual life requires “constant vigilance.
Francis Fernandez gives some helpful hints on how to respond to the Lord’s warnings. “Be on guard like a soldier on active service, awake thru prayer and mortification. Each day look forward with eager expectation to our Lord’s coming. Like the early Christians we too can have a day every week when we are particularly mindful of the needs of others… on that day saying with special intensity, my heart is awake….. the day on guard, a day to be more vibrant in charity with our example, with many simple services to all, with small mortifications that make life more pleasant for others, more frequent recourse to Mary, saying the Rosary….” (“In Conversation With God”, meditations for the 21st Week, Ch. 79)
Jesus again reminds us “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.” (Mt. 24:44)
Lord help us to STAY AWAKE. Help us to be prepared 24-7. Let’s not get into a mode of spiritual procrastination or spiritual numbness. Lord keep me alert to your coming… watching for your return at any moment. And one day as we’re scanning the horizon, looking for our beloved, we can stand and announce…”it’s the Lord, it’s the Lord, IT’S THE LORD …He’s here…. He’s come for us. Wow, what a day that will be.