Grace to you!
A priest had five Masses on a Sunday, including the last Mass which ended at 7:30pm. After the marathon, he was completely exhausted and passed out.
In the morning, volunteers who count the offerings from Sunday Masses had come in the rectory. They had the access code. When they came in, the priest was still fast asleep.
However, they noticed the rectory had been broken into. Burglars had torn the rectory apart while the priest was deep in sleep. When they woke the priest, he could not believe that while he was sleeping, the window of the rectory was broken, bottles of wine popped, and a few things stolen from the rectory. Thank God the thieves didn’t see the safe or hurt him.
This true story could be an introduction to a sermon on spiritual vigilance. As we begin Advent today, a time we reenact the events of the First Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in anticipation of the Second Coming, we read from Scripture the need for spiritual vigilance. We also learn the disposition that should be ours this period.
Isaiah 63 and 64 appeal to the compassionate Heart of God, our Father, stirring our hearts to be that of humble repentance. We anticipate the coming with a heart that is open for Divine invitation. We are assured that God is Our Father, a revelation that is one of the most powerful in the Old Testament.
With a humble disposition, we have to live in vigilant hope. It is possible to be so overwhelmed or caught up in our day to day activities that we are fatigued, we pass out and become unaware of events and do not notice the time of our saving grace. Sometimes, quiet and prayerful contemplation could keep us centered; attuned to the signs the Lord is giving.
During these weeks of Advent, spiritual vigilance is key. More time for prayer and quiet would be helpful. If we cultivate this skill set, it will help us all through the year.
One thing is certain: The best vigilance is to be at our duty post. As St. Dominic replied to St. John Bosco when he was asked what he would do if Christ came now, he said: “I will keep doing what I’m doing right now because I know I’m at my duty post.”
Whether the Lord comes or calls us in the first watch, second, third or fourth, which could mean when we’re a child, a teen, young adult, adult or senior citizen, makes no difference.
Be vigilant. Be at your duty post. If we do what we could if Christ were here, every time, we are good to go. No need to be anxious.
Praying for the grace of vigilance.
God Love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[First Sunday of Advent Year B: Is 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7; 1 Cor 1:3-9; Mk 13:33-37]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.