"Stay awake and be ready!" (Mt 24: 42). Jesus urges us to be expectant, watchful, alert, and prepared for his coming. Jesus and the fullness of his kingdom will come upon us at a time we do not know or expect. St. Paul assures us that the Lord will come from heaven to take the living and dead to his heavenly kingdom (1 Thes 4: 13-18). Like the bridal train waiting for the delayed bridegroom's arrival, we can fall into the temptation of becoming drowsy and sleepy as we await the Parousia. We can quickly become lukewarm, inattentive, distracted, and lingered in getting ready for his arrival. There is the danger of delay.
Let's not defer to do tomorrow what we can do today. To stay awake and vigilant is to act now on the graces God bestows generously on us. Let's watch for Wisdom, for "whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care" ( Wis 6: 12-16). Jesus is the Wisdom who seeks us out. Jesus comes to us always. We will be aware of his coming if we stay awake and attentive. We must respond quickly to what he is saying to us every moment. We need to respond to his calls instantly and no longer procrastinate.
Why and what makes us delay in responding to his love in the first place? What are the things that put us to sleep and make us drowsy like the five foolish virgins? Why do we restrain our readiness for the wedding feast with Jesus? Pleasure: indulging in the pleasure life presents us keeps us from taking bold steps to pursue holiness, which comes from bearing our crosses daily. Distractions: many things- from sports to politics, engage our attention to the exclusion of the central focus on Jesus. Power and status: sometimes, our job or career takes the place of Jesus. Time: We have much time to prepare; we can always do it later. So we think. I pray we never regret acting too late. Let's respond to the voice of Jesus without delay. Stay awake!
In His Joy,
Fr. Alayode Bernard, OP