In today’s readings, Paul gives thanks for God’s gift of the revelation of Jesus and the faith that will sustain us until the end. The Responsorial encourages us to faithfully give praise to the Lord each day. And, Matthew warns us to “Stay awake!! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
Throughout my life, Matthew’s warning has had various meanings for me. As a grade school child, I was frightened by the warning and at times had trouble sleeping, wondering if tonight was the night!! I feared that I might be called by God to account for my earthly transgressions. This has lead to a life of being prepared; in fact, I even do research in prevention as a part of counseling.
As I have gotten older and experienced the ebb and flow of life, namely births and deaths, I have wondered about people who die suddenly or unexpectedly. Were they prepared? What if they were not? The most profound example is my father. He was a wonderful, loving man who died very suddenly of a stroke when he was 62 years old. He had lived fifty-eight years with rheumatoid arthritis, and his sedentary lifestyle contributed to brittle veins and arteries. From the autopsy report and the position of his body, it appeared that he awoke, probably with a painful headache, and likely died within a minute. Was he ready? Had he lived a life that made him worthy of eternal rest with our God in heaven? Was he afraid? I regret that we never talked about this before his death in 1974.
When all is said and done, we need to be prepared for a whole host of events in our mortal lives, the greatest of which is our meeting with the Lord. There is much that we can do every moment of every day, but we will never know what enough preparation is, until it is too late. Matthew’s warning holds so much meaning on so many levels for so many of life’s challenges.
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