He didn’t say, be ready, or keep watch, or stand guard. He said “stay awake”. The image of that warning is very interesting to me. You see, ever since I was very little I have always found it very easy to fall asleep. In high school I took a PE thing on meditation (we were a progressive high school …. Catholic but progressive). That only meant that I could now fall asleep very easily, whenever I wanted.
There is something seductive about falling asleep. You know that feeling when you are listening to a talk or presentation, or morning homily and you just can’t keep your eyes open. Things get relaxed, things get heavy and before you know it you are waking up. It is as if it takes no thought, no effort you just fall asleep.
Think of that seduction in the context of today’s homily. “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” But there is nothing wrong with falling asleep. It doesn’t hurt anyone, is does not break any laws, it is just peaceful and relaxing and sooooooooo simple.
Isn’t that also the way of temptation? Isn’t it all just so simple? I’ll just sit down, put up my feet, find a warm blanket and wait here for the day when the Lord to come. This way I will stay out of trouble. How can I get into trouble if I am under a blanket? … with my feet up? Isn’t the definition of staying out of trouble?
When I was a lot younger, my mother would have loved it if she found me in that state of being. It meant that nothing bad was happening! So what is Jesus’ point? Perhaps it is that He did to say, “stay out f trouble” He said “Stay awake”.
“So too, you also must be prepared,for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Ooooooh, so now we have to both Stay awake AND Be prepared”. The fact is that both of these admonitions are active, not passive. He wants us to be the “faithful and prudent servant”. In our awaken – ness, He wants us to be “in charge of our household, distributing food, “blessed is the servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
And doesn’t this go against our human nature? The idea of being ready is one thing but the idea of being ready for an indefinite length of time is kind of tough. So what do we do? We are supposed to be awake; we are supposed to be ready, but we don’t know for how long. Our only response has to be for us to be ready now and for us to stay ready.
The first reading had the answer. Saint Paul said,
“I give thanks to my God always on your account
for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus,
that in him you were enriched in every way,
with all discourse and all knowledge,
as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you,
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift
as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end,”
And there is the answer, “He will keep you firm to the end”. He will help to keep us awake; He will help us to be prepared, He will help us to stay holy, stay focused, stay determined. In the end result this was not a message of our actions, it is of our reaction. We just have to be ready, live our life with the end in mind but we just have to be willing, we just have to be open to the Son of Man.
MT 24:42 – 51
Jesus said to his disciples:
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
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.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
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 eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master 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 wailing and grinding of teeth.”
August 25, 2022
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