“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21: 34-36
Sometimes we can learn a lot from animals. When they are at the bottom of the food chain, much like the picture of the chipmunk on guard, you tend to be vigilant at all times. We humans don’t think of ourselves at the bottom of anything. We become drowsy with life and the cares of the world. We sin. We are the bottom of the devil’s food chain, but do not give him all the credit. We are sometimes the source of our own temptation which could be a slip of the lip or gossip. Yes, men gossip.
Ask yourself this question. Can I afford to let my guard down? If I could communicate with a chipmunk or rabbit, I think I know what they would say. If you are reading this you probably have your guard up, but what happens when you leave this computer screen? What happens when you leave church Sunday?
Today is the end of our liturgical year. Tomorrow we start the season of Advent in preparation for the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus and His Churches final message this year is to be vigilant and pray. In Revelations in today’s reading the angel says,”Behold I am coming soon.” It is our duty to stand guard and be vigilant. We do it by staying aware that we are not the top but the bottom and that the devil and our own weaknesses are our enemies.
Prayer can be simple but effective. How many times have I heard a friend or relative say, “ Lord give me strength!”. Prayer is not always formal or long. It can be short and sweet. Also they can be cumulative. We had a reading a couple of weeks ago that puts prayer into perspective. Revelations 5:8 says “Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones.” That is a beautiful thought that my prayer (any prayer) could be incense.Our readings today are the culmination of the Church’s instructions for us. Our prayer does not have to be long or complicated, but each prayer builds on another and we are giving witness that we are nothing and totally vulnerable without God. The more we admit this the better our communication with God is. If you think you have trouble praying read Romans 8.
Prayer and vigilance give us the strength we need to survive. The Church knows that without them we who are at the bottom of the Devil’s food chain we will not survive.
Happy New Year!
Readings: Revelations 22:1-7; Psalm 95:1-2,3-5,6-7AB; Luke 21: 34-36