Stay Awake! A Call to Spiritual Alertness

In Matthew 24 we find the “The Faithful and Unfaithful Servant”. The part that sticks out to me most is the “Stay awake!” command.

I am always tired. Always. I have a thyroid issue – where it’s naturally about half of even the lowest normal range. So I am on medicine to help me. It has helped, at least numerically. But I constantly find myself in a battle of “Stay awake. Stay awake. Stay awake.” I lose this battle daily. I survive on naps.

So I can pretty naturally identify with this command to “Stay awake!” — though actually following the command is a different story.

The rest of the parable seems pretty clear: If you know in advance when someone is gonna try to rob you, be awake so that they don’t. Seems kind of like a straight forward parable.

But let’s forget the physical for a moment.

Let’s think about the spiritual.

Well now, hmmm. What have we here? A bit of a ponderable parable don’t we? If Jesus is calling us to “Stay awake!” spiritually well it seems to me to be a whole different ballgame.

We can become lax in our ways. We can think “Oops I forgot to pray. I’ll just pray tomorrow.” We can forget to go to mass or fail to watch it online. We can forget to tend to our soul and give it the nourishment it needs to thrive.

Ever since Coronavirus shut down church I haven’t gone to mass. I do stream it on Sundays. But that isn’t the same thing (…though I have kept with the tradition of arriving a few minutes late…). It’s best I can do right now (I’m too scared to go in person again). And keeping up with my spiritual life has become challenging.

Sunday and daily mass has always been the centering force of my week/day. I went. I was refreshed. I was spiritually awake. But without it in person I think I’m dozing off. I make the Spiritual Communion during the livestream. I find it to be beautiful. But it really isn’t the same thing as receiving Jesus Christ into my body physically.

But the good news is I can see that I am starting to nod my spiritual head. I can sense that my eyes are closing and my soul is not as prepared as I should be. And that is a God-given grace. A friendly, loving call to spiritual alertness – a jolt to remind me: Stay Awake!

The August 27th reading to “Stay Awake!” speaks loudly to me. May I be a servant who is faithful and prudent and keeping active watch over my spiritual house.

MT 24:42-51

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this:
if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

“Who, then, is 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.

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