Be vigilant! Stay alert! Be awake! The Son of Man, the Master, will come unannounced.
Our Gospel reading this Sunday has points of resemblance to the Parable of the Virgin, which implies the judgment day of God. The coming of the Son of Man also referred as the Master, will be sudden and unexpected, like a thief in the night. He will bring judgment, which is not only temporary but existential.
Blessed are the servants who do what the Master expects them to do, which includes treating others with kindness and fairness, when he arrives. The unexpected time referred to in our reading is the time of our death, which is the time of judgment. True indeed, we do not know the time of our death, as it takes the life of the young and the old alike in a natural or unnatural way.
The statement to stay awake teaches us to arise not only from a state of moral sloth to an active life devoted to God, but also to stay alive. In Greek terms, staying awake also means to stay alive.
How do we stay alive? One of the definitions of staying alive is to be sensitive and to be able to know and realize the existence of something.
Sometimes in our lives, we neglect to see the importance of doing something important for our loved ones while they are still alive. We might have experienced deep regret and guilt when a loved one passes away because we have not realized the fullness of their presence in our lives. We might not have expressed a kind appreciation of their kindness to us. We might not have spent meaningful time with them. We might not have expressed an apology or asked forgiveness for a past misunderstanding, but, it’s too late. We cannot bring back life to appreciate and recognize it more fully.
The key to staying alive, which is the key to stay alert and vigilant, is to love freely and abundantly. We should try not to repeat the regrets of not recognizing the value of love that goes along with life. When we know how to love, we do what is right. We do it with joy. We have peace.
In this way of staying alive, we learn how to forgive, to understand, to be other-centered and to be faithful. We enter more into the vast riches of Christ. We draw and experience God’s joy in our life. In being joyful, we become hopeful that when the day the Son of Man comes, we are ready to face him. For a joyful and loving person, the passage from this life to the next is not a rupture; it is a richer experience of the joy of being with God.
For a faithful person, being vigilant and ready for the judgment day, the coming of the Son of Man is not so much of an obligation or a command out of fear. Being prepared is a way of life that gives joy. A joyful person is always vigilant. By the same token, a vigilant person is always joyful. Even if he is asleep, he is not afraid of death because on that day, life is not a rupture but an even richer experience to live the eternal joy, promised by Christ, the Son of Man.