Watchful and hard-working servants
Jesus, who rose from the dead and went up to heaven, will not fail to return in his glory. Of course, he wants us to be always watchful and hard-working.
Jesus exhorts all of us to be watchful. And the exhortation sounds urgent, for he repeats it in several ways: “Be watchful! Be alert! Watch!”
His insistence surely indicates that being watchful is a matter of spiritual life and death. Unless we remain watchful, we will put out our faith, it will be dead.
So, then, Jesus urges us to be watchful, so we may live our faith, hope and love with liveliness and grace. No, we cannot allow indifference, mediocrity, apathy or self-deception take over us.
In other words, we ought to focus on Jesus. Our whole life should revolve around him and his second coming. And it will do us good to acknowledge that time is running out, that this world in its present form is passing away. This acknowledgment may lead us to take seriously the advice (1 Cor 7, 29-31):
Let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not owning, those using the world as not using it fully.
But let us be careful about those who use the impending coming of Jesus as an excuse not to work. These deserve the admonition: “Anyone who is unwilling to work should not eat.” In fact, our Lord has left us in charge of certain tasks. He does not want us to be asleep, lifeless. There is nothing more contrary to Jesus’ exhortation than doing nothing. We cannot be like those who, “provided they have enough to eat, do not bother about anything else” (SV.EN XII:81). We have to use our talents. We have to help the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters.
Without grace, of course, we cannot stay watchful.
Without Jesus, we can do nothing. Recognizing we need and depend on him, we will fix our gaze on him as we go through life.
That is because he is our Redeemer. So, we will cry out to him, saying, “Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.” He will surely keep those who await his revelation firm to the end.
Lord Jesus, you stand at the door and knock. Make us, watchful and attentive, hear your voice and open the door, so that we may dine together.
3 December 2017
First Sunday of Advent (B)
Is 63, 16b-17. 19b – 64, 2-7; 1 Cor 1, 3-9; Mk 13, 33-37