Gospel Mt 24:37-44

Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming…

During this season of Advent, the Church continues to put before us readings that seem somewhat ominous in tone. Something in the words of Jesus here seems to rub us up the wrong way. These words are actually somewhat startling.

Stay awake! Jesus reminds his disciples, and through them, he reminds us that we should not be too content with things as they are. That, in fact, things will come to an end.

How easy it is though, to be lulled into an overly secure sense of boredom. We are so preoccupied with our daily tasks, and so used to a scientific or mechanistic understanding of how things operate, that we fail to be aware of our surrounds – we fail to receive the gift of creation as given.

In this space, the words of Jesus, admonishing us to ‘stay awake,’ are important. They remind us of how easily we fall into habitual modes of thought and behaviour, and fail to appreciate what is around us, and where we are going.

This reminds me of some other words of Jesus, who tells us of our responsibility to be ‘child-like.’ The child is gifted with an incredible sense of awe at their surrounds. Everything is exciting, everything is interesting!

The sense of alertness we must cultivate in our waiting for the culmination of history is the kind of interestedness that the child has. The trap of monotony immanentises our vision, and we can no longer see our ultimate end. Staying awake and alert is not a matter of prepping for a Hollywood-esque ‘End of Days,’ but a matter of cultivating the mind and the heart to recognise the in-breaking of the Kingdom in our every day, and to welcome Him when he comes in Glory.

Point to Ponder

 “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy