Saint for the day: Monica (331-387)
1 Thessalonians 3:7-13 – Psalm 90 – Matthew 24:42-51
“Be vigilant at all times and pray, that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.” (Today’s Gospel Acclamation)
“Watch and stay awake ‘cause you know not when the master might return.” Our journey is one that lasts our entire life. For some of us that might extend into our ‘senior years’ or it might come to an end suddenly when we least expect it. Therefore, we make the journey with an awareness that the step into the Kingdom is just around the corner. Yet it can’t be such a huge step away since Jesus tells us that the “Kingdom of Heaven is within.” This means that it is not ‘up there,’ or ‘over there,’ but right in front of us. If Catherine of Siena can say, “it’s heaven all the way to heaven” then it must mean that we are very close to those gates.
When Jesus says, “watch and be prepared” we must take that to mean that our entire life needs to be directed toward making that step into the Kingdom as if it were just the ordinary, next step in our ongoing journey.
This puts us in a kind of dilemma that means we must keep going while, at the same time, aware that our next step might be our final ascent into the Kingdom. We don’t just sit down like a bump on a log and wait for the rapture. We continue going but going with the assurance that we are ultimately going to Heaven.
I have to ask myself: did my brother, Lew, know that he was going to come down the stairs for dinner and drop dead? And even if he didn’t or did know what difference would it have made. If one of us knew that by such and such time this afternoon we would die what difference would we make of our last day?
So, bottom line: we live each day as a gift of God trusting that He will guide us on our journey with the full knowledge that our next breath could be our last. “One thing I ask of the Lord: this I seek; to live in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” Psalm 27. I had this verse printed on my holy card on the occasion of my First Profession of Vows, May 20, 1961. May this still be my daily prayer, O Lord. Amen!