We may be in the dog days of summer, but my mind is already on Advent when pursuing today’s readings. When I taught third grade in Chicago, a regular Advent song during the weekly school Mass was “Stay Awake, Be Ready” (Christopher Walker, OCP publishing). 300 children would call out today’s Gospel verse: Stay awake, be ready. You do not know the hour that the Lord is coming. Stay awake, be ready. The Lord is coming soon.
Jesus gives this same message to the disciples in today’s Gospel from Luke. He begins today’s parable by comparing their preparation to servants preparing for their master’s return. Stand ready, for the servants do not want to be caught sleeping by their master. We should have the same commitment to preparation: we do not want to miss the coming of the son of Man. Jesus acknowledges that this is a direction given with high expectations and requires a commitment to the faith. Peter questions: is this meant for us or for everyone? Jesus affirms that we are all called to this mission.
Our faith life should reflect our continued waiting for the second coming. This means regular participation in church life, in attending Mass, in receiving the sacraments. By developing a personal prayer life through regular prayer, attention to the teachings of the Church, and commitment to living out the Gospel, we are preparing ourselves as Jesus advises in the Gospel today. We are also spreading the Gospel and teachings of the church through our actions. We are sustaining our parishes by participating in church and parish life.
Stay awake, be ready. You do not know the hour that Lord is coming. The servants did not know when their master would return from the feast. Yet we are God’s chosen people - blessed as we have been chosen by the Lord as we hear in Psalm 33 today. Our faith may not yield the results we want right away - we may be angry at God or people in the church due to their actions. We are the chosen. God entrusts us to be faithful and proclaim the Gospel. By staying active in our faith, we pray that we may correct any errors of the past and be fully ready for when the Lord comes again.