We bring the Liturgical Year to a close with a poignant reminder to remain vigilant at all times as we follow Jesus Christ through this life.
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Jesus offers a parable to remind us to be steadfast and alert, ready to respond at any moment to God’s call in our lives.
Life is tough at times, and we can be overcome by exhaustion and distraction. Yet the Lord invites us to remain vigilant, asking for the strength we need to face each day.
Study: Recall a time when your faith was tested. How did you respond?
Pray: Are you or a loved one going through a difficult time right now? Pray for the wisdom and strength that comes from faith.
Serve: How can you help someone grow in their faith today? How can you help another grow closer to Jesus Christ?
The readings focus on different aspects of faith this week:
- 1st Reading – The people put their faith in God at the time of the Passover
- Psalm – “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
- 2nd Reading – The faith of Abraham inspires our faith
- Gospel – Be ready, vigilant and prepared for the treasures of heaven
When we stop and think about it, we are blessed in many, many ways: life, education, family, friendship, health, opportunity, and…faith. What a gift it is to know God and to be given the sacraments and teaching of the Church to help us encounter the Lord!
But sometimes we can take our gifts for granted. We start to assume that these blessings will always be there, that life will always be smooth and steady, or that if we do the right things then nothing bad will ever happen to us.
Today we are reminded that the gift of faith requires constant vigilance. We live each day, each moment, with the conviction that we are pilgrims passing through this world…with our eyes set on the Kingdom of Heaven. We foster our relationship with the Lord through daily prayer, frequent reception of the Sacraments, hearing the Word of God, and fellowship with one another.
May we foster our faith and be ready today…for the Lord will come, at an hour we do not expect.
A beginning is always a crucial time – how we start often defines the outcome of a project or task, as well as our attitude as we work. We are reminded today to be vigilant: constantly prepared; swift to act; and disciplined in our effort. May the start of our Advent season prepare us for a glorious Christmas!
Study: Name a time when you had to be vigilant. What gave you strength to remain alert, disciplined, and prepared?
Pray: Is there something in your life that requires vigilance right now? Pray for the strength to remain focused.
Serve: Does someone in your life need support to remain vigilant? How can you help them?
The Gospel reading paints a dark picture – filled with worry, anxiety, dismay, and fright. It warns that some might foolishly respond with drunkenness, others by getting drowsy and paying no attention. Here’s the proper approach:
“Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength” – Luke 21:36
Be vigilant. But what does that mean? Here are some key points:
- Alert: focused, paying attention, aware
- Disciplined: steadfast, consistent
- Prepared: ready, able to act instantly
The idea is that we are actively engaged in the present moment – watching and waiting – so that when the situation requires our effort we can swiftly give our best. It takes a lot of energy, effort, and concentration…but then again, at stake is our preparation for the savior of the world.
So as we step into this Advent – where do you see the need for vigilance in your life? Are there situations or relationships that require attention? Are there details that need to be addressed? If the Lord came today are we ready to greet him, or would we be caught unprepared?
This holy season provides us with the gift of time to become vigilant – alert, disciplined, and prepared for the Lord’s return.
The image is from The Passion of the Christ – The Resurrection of Jesus – Easter Day. May we all have that expression on our faces as we wait for the Lord!