Thursday, Thirty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Rev 18:1-2,21-23; 19:1-3,9; Ps 100:1-5; Lk 21:20-28
A CONSTANT STATE OF SPIRITUAL VIGILANCE
In a month’s time, we will be celebrating the event of Jesus’ birth. The liturgy of the last few weeks has been focusing on the commandment of love – love for God and for one another. These are all connected – the expression of God’s love for us in the birth of his son, the evidence of those who loved him and gave their lives for him (the first reading), and the command to love. This helps us understand the words of Jesus in today’s gospel reading – they are more than a warning; they are a directive to live this commandant of love so that we may ‘stand erect and raise our heads.’ It is the grace of God that redeems us and the gift of Jesus that makes it possible.
Jesus speaks about the end times, lest we be carried away with the petty concerns of the day, and are caught unawares at the coming of the Lord. He wants us to be vigilant, and to pray fervently for strength of faith, so as to whether the tribulations which precede the Day of Judgement. The message is clear: We must be prepared. Part of that preparation is vigilance.
What does this vigilance entail? It does not mean being physically alert 24/7. That is impossible. The vigilance that Jesus is talking of is being spiritually ready in faith. It includes regular prayer, deep faith, being a peacemaker, exercising forgiveness, rendering charity, and all other Christian actions. It is hoping that when the Lord comes, he will see us as his own, worthy to enter into glory. It is adopting the mind of Christ, the life of the gospel.
The Lord is coming. This is the truth. The vigilant Christian is oriented towards this truth, this destiny, this end, this encounter with the risen Lord. He is coming as he had once come on that silent and holy night – unexpectedly and without warning. Our vigilance will not be in vain.
Responsorial Psalm: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
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