Exhortation to be Vigilant
The Boy Scouts of the Philippines have a motto: “Laging handa” (or always prepared). These boy scouts should be ready for emergency situations like: an accident or a person requiring special help.
The liturgical year of the Church is about to end and New Year will come tomorrow. New Year in the sense that tomorrow will be the First Sunday of Advent, the first day of a new liturgical year of the Church. And we can find this week’s readings pointing to the end-times. Like for example, in today’s gospel Jesus says to us to be vigilant at all times and pray. Therefore, this boy scouts’ motto can very well be applied to us.
This statement of Jesus, “Be vigilant” means many different things. It could be: to grab the opportunity when opportunity knocks; not to waste time; to prepare for coming of our death and the Second Coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the establishment of God’s Kingdom.
But what are those things that we should be vigilant of at all times and pray? First, we should be vigilant against the evil spirit and his temptation. It is because the evil spirit is very real in our ordinary daily living. He is roaming around us. He always finds ways on how to destroy us; on how to attack us especially in our relationship with God. He attacks us when we are sad; at our weakest point; when we are on trials and difficulties in life. He comes to us not by sudden fall into sin or on a grand scale but by the routine and undramatic temptations of our daily life. He sows doubts and confusion so that we will not be able to know the truth about God and His Kingdom. But we can overcome evil by our own vigilance, discernment, faithfulness, patience, self-control, determination and faith.
Second, let us be vigilant of our own death. It is because there is nothing certain in this world than our own death. All of us will experience death. Death is our common destiny. But also there is nothing more uncertain in this world than death itself in the sense that no one knows the day or the time that we will die. Death is like a thief that comes in the night, unexpected and so sudden. Like for example, at the present we are talking and joking with somebody but then after a minute we suffer heart attack and on the spot we die. And so the advice of Jesus is that we have to be prepared and be ready at all times.
Third, let us be vigilant for the Second Coming of Christ. On that day we will make an account of our lives. And I hope that this final day should not catch us by surprise. Let us be aware that we have to return of what God has given to us as gifts but of course with fruits. Let us spend our limited time wisely in the service of God. Let us follow the advice of Jesus in today’s gospel, namely not to “become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.
Let us ask ourselves, “Is there anything in my life that would not be in keeping with my condition as a child of God?”