you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” (Mk 13:35-37)
The standard definition of vigilance is “the action or state of keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.” Vigilance is something that is paramount to our safety and something that must be taught and encouraged.
When we are first born, we are not very vigilant. As a matter of fact, we are far from it. We will touch anything, hold anything, taste anything, approach anything. The “glitzier” the better. We do not care — or know — that fire is hot. We simply see that it is visually attracting and we approach it to touch.
Without our parents standing by and observing our every move, some of the results of our non-vigilance would be quite disastrous. We would burn ourselves or cut ourselves or poison ourselves in a heartbeat. That is why our parents, grandparents, guardians, or others who raise us play such a crucial role. They teach us that some things are very bad for us, that some things can hurt us, that some things can kill us, and that we need to be careful and watch our step.
Thankfully, that watchfulness gets taught to us rather early in life and we become much more vigilant and, in doing so, survive our childhood.
Jesus was speaking about vigilance in today’s gospel. He told His followers that they needed to “watch!” so that they would not be found unaware. The vigilance of which Jesus spoke was critical to His followers. If they embraced the warning of the Lord, they would live their lives in readiness so that, when He returned, He would find them waiting. If they rejected the Lord’s warning, they would wander away and become lost.
Jesus does not want to lose any of us. That is why He challenged us to be vigilant, to be prepared. That is the clarion call of the Advent Season. We ask God to help us be prepared this day!
FAITH ACTION: Ask God to give you the grace that you need to be vigilant.