Exhortation to Watch
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
Jesus said: Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.
At no point during his earthly ministry does Jesus offer us an easy way out of the trials and tribulations of earthly life. On the contrary, Jesus shares in every one of those trials and tribulations. However, Jesus does offer us a level of reassurance that we can find nowhere else. Jesus assures us that there is a divine home awaiting us when we have passed through our mortal lives, a divine home that will bring us into the nearer presence of God for all eternity.
When we go somewhere special, we make meticulous preparations. We cleanse ourselves and we put on special clothes. We may think of choosing a small gift as an act of gratitude for the invitation. There are so many different rituals we are prepared to go through as we get ready for that special moment away from the humdrum and the routine. Today we are being urged to be in a constant state of readiness for the moment when the invitation into God’s nearer presence arrives at our doorstep. The question for us is whether we are prepared to hold ourselves in such a state of constant preparedness.
When we prepare to go to an earthly party we know that the sense of gratification will not be long in coming. When we contemplate God’s invitation we know that its dawning may be many years away. But, that self-created sense of distance is an illusion. The reality is that we could receive that call at any given moment. The question is: will we be alert and ready?
Today is the end of the Church’s year. Tomorrow is the first day of Advent and we will be focusing on the prophetic words of John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary and others as we journey towards the great annual celebration of Christ’s Nativity. Throughout Advent we will be reminding ourselves of our need to be alert and ready for God’s coming into our midst. Let us pray that we might take that need seriously as we go forward in faith and hope and joy as loyal and committed disciples and apostles of Christ.