When I was young and first heard today’s Gospel reading, I envisioned a watchman posted in a lookout tower, ready to sound the alarm and let everyone know that he sees Jesus coming down the road, and everyone should get ready. I suspect a young person today hearing this reading for the first time would not think about the watch tower guard at all, but rather, a 24/7 security camera.
Security cameras truly are everywhere today, but what good is it for the master of the house to watch the next day film of the thief who came in the night to rob his home? Sure, he might be able to make out the face of the thief and help solve the crime, but the damage has been done.
What if instead of the thief coming in the night, it was Jesus coming for us? What if instead of being “awake and alert” to Jesus’ constant presence, we chose to just review the events the next day on our computer? Imagine watching the video the next morning and then telling our spouse that the sound we heard in the night was Jesus calling me ….but I didn’t answer….and now he is gone. Well, at least I have it on video.
What security system do we have in place to detect God’s presence? Is it weekly Mass and a confession during Easter? Or daily Mass and confession three or four times a year?
Being awake and alert to God’s presence is more than simply attending Mass and Confession.
The reading gives us a clue, when Jesus talks about “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.”
The “awake and alert” that Jesus is talking about are the people who have come to the realization that Jesus isn’t coming; he is already here and present in their lives, and they are living their faith through the good work they are doing at home, work, their church and in their community. They are putting their faith into action by serving those around them just as Jesus and “the faithful and prudent servant” did. They are not satisfied with just going to Mass, Confession or reading daily reflections. They want to immerse themselves in their faith. By so doing, they are awake and alert to the constant presence of God.
Today, as we do the Daily Examen, we can pay focus on God’s presence in our life. Reflect on his goodness, the gifts He has bestowed on me, the opportunities He has provided me to serve, or maybe the beautiful sunrise or sunset I saw today. In doing so, I too will be more “alert and awake” to God’s constant presence and His endless love for each of us.
By Steve Scholer