Today is the last day in the Church’s calendar. Looking at the Scripture readings and how they are arranged, we might say that today (the last day of the year according to the church’s calendar) is like the last day, hence the call to “beware” so as not to be taken unaware. What if today is the last day of this earthly living? What would you like to change about your life? What would you want to do differently? In the three verses of today’s gospel, Jesus sums up how to remain in His peace.
We readily associate particular life patterns with youth, so it is easy to say “such and such” used to be how I lived, but not anymore. As people of active faith, we may not engage in a lifestyle of dissipation or drunkenness, but what about worry? Don’t we all worry about family members who are probably struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, a life of carousing, etc?
In this day and age, many people are apprehensive about wars and rumors of wars all over the world. Some see themselves feeling sad and struggle to place the cause. Depending on the country, many people feel like they are drowning in anxieties over a fledgling economy, the possibility of a dictator overthrowing a stable government, natural disasters, and so on. Some people worry about their health, food, healthcare for their little ones, school tuition, job security, etc. These are some of the things that could weigh down the soul. How do we live in such realities and remain alert and watchful for the Lord’s coming?
In today’s world, security has become such an indispensable tool that one needs to have in one’s life toolkit. With the speedy advancement of technology comes security threats that require faster security-orchestrated solutions that should remain at the forefront of deterring adversaries.
Hence, automation techniques have emerged as a significant means of triaging and forestalling security incidents. Jesus’ command to “beware” is akin to automation because it is not always easy to be alert. It’s as if Jesus asks us to secure our end — deploy a robust security solution for eternal life with God! In a sense, the presence of worry is the lack of certainty/assurance. Ordinarily, we want job security, financial security, heaven, health, stability, and all we need to be assured. Our inability to guarantee those needs creates worry. Godly alertness can help us reduce the effects of worry and worry altogether.
How would one “automate” a Godly alertness?
· When you pray for today’s needs (Matt 6:11), send prayers to your future also (Jer. 29:11; Phil. 1:6). Several devotions within the Catholic tradition contain promises such as having the necessary Grace during the final moments of one’s life, making tepid souls fervent, etc. These devotions (such as The Most Sacred Heart [The Holy Mass implied], Rosary, etc.) highlight that a promising spiritual future can be built with fervent prayers.
· It is helpful not to fear the end, but we should not dismiss it.
· We hear so much about “being present in the moment.” It means making maximum good use of every gift/opportunity God allows us to have. Good use of the present leads to a better future (Cf Matt 25:23).
In conclusion, while contemplating the end might, naturally, induce anxiety, surrendering the outcome to the Author of the beginning alleviates the tension (Cf. James 4:7). We did not initiate our beginning, and acknowledging this truth helps us navigate both the cares of life and the inevitable end with a sense of peace.