Be Awake, Be Alert!

burning oil lamp

19th Sunday Ordinary Time

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: August 7, 2022

Are we in the end times?   When will be the second coming?  These questions do not seem very useful to me, they do not interest me at all.  The only useful question is, “am I ready to welcome God coming to me today, in this moment?”  Are you ready to be a host for God?

Last Saturday night Fr. Patras, our Associate Pastor, William, our seminarian and myself hosted a couple guests for dinner.  I put William in charge of preparing for this.  He set up a menu, did shopping for groceries, had the table prepared for dinner.  He did the cooking and we were prepared with drinks to offer when they arrived.  I told him that hosting a dinner with guests is good training for a seminarian!  We were all prepared when the guests arrived.

Hosting guests to your home requires some preparation, some work.  You need to make sure there is food and drink in the house, you do some cooking, probably clean the house.  You want to be ready for when they arrive.  Imagine knowing that guests were coming to your house, but you did nothing at all.  The moment they arrive at the door you are in bed, in your pyjamas.  You answer the door like that.  Then you go to the fridge and you do not have anything to prepare a meal and no drinks to offer.  How would your guests feel?

For each one of us, the spiritual life is about being ready, being awake, preparing ourselves to welcome the Divine Creator into our lives.  Listen to the words Jesus uses in this Gospel today, “Be dressed for action,” “will the master find you alert?” We are to become a host for the living God.  Make a home within ourselves prepared for this guest in our life.  What will God find us doing when coming to visit us?

Every day be ready to host God in your life.  Pay attention, be awake.  How is God coming to you in this moment, in this day, in this person?  The important question is not, “are we in the end times? or when will the Lord return?”  The important question is if we will be ready and paying attention when the Lord comes to us in this moment.

We have church buildings, we have sacraments, we pray, as ways to prepare our hearts to be a host for God.  But, it is not that God is only found in churches, or religious events or when we are praying.  God can be experienced and found in every place, in every person, in every experience.  But, we need to be awake, we need to pay attention, we need to have ourselves prepared for the experience of God’s grace visiting us.

Be alert to the ways God will be visiting you.  In good and bad times.  In ordinary and unexpected moments.  Perhaps in a piece of music that moves you, or in a movie that causes you to reflect, or in the meeting of a stranger, or in a simple meal shared at home with family

So, do not worry about the end times or when the Lord will return.  Only be sure to prepare your heart and soul to be a good host for God visiting you in your life.  As Jesus says, “will you be found alert?”

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