"...Remember that the Lord seeks not only flowers, but fruits; that is not only good desires and resolutions, but also holy works..." - St. Bernard of Clairvaux: (1090 – 1153: was a French abbot and the primary reformer for the Cistercian order)
Gospel Text: (MT 24:42-51)
Jesus said to his disciples:
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant,
whom the master has put in charge of his household
to distribute to them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.
Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
I’m sure all of us have had experiences throughout our lives where we struggled to stay awake. Maybe those experiences were experiences of waiting for someone to return home late at night. In such a case, you might have experienced any sort of emotion: perhaps joy, or perhaps fear, or perhaps anger. Maybe the experience was one of driving late at night in order to reach a far-off desperation, anxious but exhausted. Maybe the experience was one of finishing a project, paper, or report for school or the office: such an experience may have been fraught with fear.
There is a wide variety of emotion which can accompany the experience of trying to stay awake, but if we consider the two events that Jesus’ words today concern—the coming of Christ in salvation history, and Christ coming to us at the moment of our death—we see that these two things share something in common: namely, that they are both unexpected. To stay awake for these two things is to stay awake for the unexpected.
Do not expect Christ to be part of your life in the way that you expect, or even perhaps in the way that you would prefer.