Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 13:33-37):
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
Why does Jesus insist we stay awake for when he returns to earth in judgement? Isn’t it a tad unreasonable to expect people to stay awake at all times??
To answer the second question first, God gave us the gift of sleep so that we can reenergise our minds and our bodies to do His work. So, sleep and rest aren’t bad things to be avoided. They actually help us to do the Father’s will.
Why then does Jesus tell us to stay awake?? Well, he wants us to be ready for his second coming. And in order to be ready for this our souls must be fully awake to our call to be children of God. This means that we must ensure our souls are awake to the inevitable coming of Jesus and that our lives are geared to that most incredible event. By geared I mean to be strong in faith and to be strong in love. If the servant is reluctant to believe that his master will return, won’t he become complacent and let standards slip? Won’t he steadily become the master of himself and no longer carry out the master’s instructions?
In our world today we are all guilty of losing sight of the Master and becoming more and more self-absorbed. That is why we must re-align ourselves and ensure our faith remains strong and our souls awake to Christ’s second coming. It’s all too easy to allow our faith to become weak when we are encouraged by society to be at peace with the self and to always look inward to bring happiness. Our Christian faith is very different to this in that we are called to look out to the world in love and mercy; and beyond this, we are called to look out for Jesus, when he comes again, sitting at the right hand of the power of God and coming on the clouds of Heaven. Our job is to make sure our souls are awake to this reality.