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Luke 12-32-40

(A reflection on the Gospel of Luke 12:35-38 and Ephesians 2:12-22)

This morning, in his homily on today’s Gospel, our deacon emphasized the need to live our lives in a state of readiness for the day the Lord will come. We don’t know when that day will be but we need to be ready nonetheless. When He does come, those who are vigilant, who have girded their loins (prepared themselves to follow Christ) and lit their lamps (have a desire and a welcoming spirit), will be blessed.

Certainly, I agreed with our deacon. Every time I’ve ever read this passage it has, like for most people I would guess, evoked that same vision. Thus, I had to ask myself if my loins were girded for the journey and whether my lamp was lit to receive Him when He comes. Will I have lived my life such that I will be one of the blessed for whom He has held a place in heaven? I hope so.

But, then, as I continued meditating on this passage, I realized there is more to it than this – more than trying to be ready for the day that I die, or Christ’s second coming, whichever comes first.

In today’s first reading, Saint Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians (2:12-22), tells the Gentiles that, through the blood of Jesus Christ, they have become near to God. It reminded me that we are always “near” to Christ 24 / 7 / 365. We simply have to search for Him, leave the light on within our heart, and, wherever we are, He will meet us there. It’s not a one-and-done occurrence nor reserved just for the Last Day. If our search is one based in love, our light will burn brightly enough that He will find us as often as we need Him.

How do we do this on a daily basis? I think we need to look at that word, “love”. It’s my love for my wife that keeps me looking forward to her coming home from a long day’s work. It’s my love for my children and grandchildren that keeps me looking forward to the next time I get to visit them. And so it should be with my love for Christ. It should be a love that is a constant longing for the next encounter with Him.

Many times in my reflections on this blog I have made excuses for month-long dry spells, blaming them on busy-ness and other exigencies which have kept me from writing. But, I know from experience that the most profound and closest moments with Christ come when I’m looking for them, when I truly desire His presence; and their absence is because I have temporarily ceased searching for them.

In my meditation this morning, I noticed a lukewarmness in my prayer life. I sensed that my tunic was a little looser around my waist than it should be, and that my candle wasn’t burning as brightly as it could be.

Why does this happen to me? I don’t love Jesus any less! At least not in the noun sense. But, in the verb sense, in regards to my actions and the intensity of my prayer life, I can see where missing the occasional morning of silence and solitude with the Lord does have an impact.

Still pondering this question, I fell back to the word vigilant and remembered that it’s not just the presence of the Lord whom we have to look for every day, but also the deceitfulness of Satan. If we become complacent and don’t maintain our love for Christ through constant prayer, the Evil One will find a way to loosen our tunic and dim our candle so gradually that we won’t even notice it.

I remember what my priest/confessor said to me two Saturdays ago: “It’s October – the month of Mary – and the Devil, in all his hatred for our Blessed Mother, is working double-time to take advantage of our inattention and complacency, to advance our sinfulness, and to make us do a U-turn away from righteousness.”  I think he was right.

“Holy Spirit, thank You for opening my heart and mind to the Word of God today. Lord Jesus, thank You for recognizing my light as I search for You with love. Mother Mary, protect me, I pray, from the deceit and wickedness of Satan. Amen.”

(Daily Vigilance was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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