So too, you also must be prepared for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. (Mt 24:44)
We are given fair warning: “Be prepared!” Ultimately, the amount of wisdom of Christ’s disciples is measured against the inspired and sensible habit of living each day as if it were the day Jesus calls them to Himself in death. In case we did not know already, both Jesus (Mt 24:37-41) and St. Paul (Romans 13:11-14) point out to us how the world is in a constant stupor and enveloped in an aura of dangerous slumber induced and favored by a sort of collective insanity.
Yes, for Jesus this noisy and hectic world is foolishly asleep!
For the world, since the time of Noah, the focus seems to have been and still is on this, as if it were the only life there is. Concisely put, at the time of Noah what was important for their life was eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Since that time, for an increasingly large number of people other pursuits have been added to the list but, still, there is nothing sublime and enduring into eternity to strive for with hope and determination as it is to last beyond the grave.
Now, for many there are also investments in the stock market, vintage and luxury cars, plastic surgery designed to defy advancing age, all those gadgets that technology churns out at predictable intervals, all the must-haves and other fads and enticing bargains that are deemed so irresistible that some shallow people get up at 3:00 am to line up in the freezing cold outside specific stores to purchase and, of course, the never-passé jewelry and diamonds which… last forever (?).
I am sure I missed quite a few, but you should get the point and also be alerted to the deadly danger lurking for God’s children who are washed clean of their sins in the Blood of the Lamb for an immortal destiny of glory. Therefore, the first thing we ought to do in earnest is to assess how much this stupor; this insidious slumber has dulled our mind and heart.
Why am I speaking of a stupor, of a deadly slumber? It is the punishment built in the very pursuit of anything to which the world gives value; but that is actually an impediment to focusing on our preparation for a personal encounter with the Son of Man in death. Anything that clutters our mind and heart is bound to wear us out, to tire us, to stress us into exhaustion and, then, to sleep. It can do so by itself and/or it can do so by what comes with the settings mentioned by Paul: orgies, drunkenness, promiscuity, lust, rivalry and jealousy.
Conversely, anything that helps us put on Christ, i.e., helps us become more and more Christ-like with every passing day; leads us to trust in the love of the Father for each one of us and that, in turn, enables us to stay focused on what counts beyond the grave, on what, unlike diamonds, truly lasts forever and will never lose its value in the eyes of God.
We cannot afford to forget that trust in God the Father brings about serenity and peace of mind. And I dare anyone to come up with something more precious than that (peace of mind and serenity) on this earth.
It is not easy for us, immersed as we are in this world, to realize that we might have already fallen asleep or that we might have been dozing off ever so slightly, and then, more deeply, from one day to the next.
The most alarming sign to indicate that we have been hypnotized by the foolishness of this world is summarized in these phrases: “but they all do it” or “it must be ok because it feels good” or “that’s my business and I am not hurting anybody by it” or “the Church is so old-fashioned, outdated and, thus, obsolete. Pope emeritus Benedict XIV called this type of stupor or slumber “moral relativism.”
Anything goes. Here are some examples mentioned according to their mounting deadly danger for our physical and spiritual wellbeing.
- As, in our collective slumber laced with moral spinelessness and tepid love for Jesus, we have grown indifferent to the seriousness of artificial birth control, we became accustomed to the term “marriage” to apply also to a union between two men or two women.
- Since that fateful decision by the Supreme Court on June 21, 2017, our weakened common sense has been hit by a relentless bombardment of the insane ideology of gender fluidity.
- With what amount of common sense we have left, we ought to be careful now of how we address people of dubious gender. We can be sued or be fired or, at least, insulted and our business boycotted if we do not go along with this collective madness.
- Get used to men using the ladies’ restrooms and locker rooms and competing in sports with female-born athletes.
- This slumber extends to what is taught and made available, mainly by Planned Parenthood, in public schools, about sex. And also any deviant sexual activity is explained in detail and encouraged.
- This menacing sleep is also convincing people that there is nothing wrong with pornography, which is actually poisoning people’s hearts, demeaning other human beings, wreaking havoc in family relationships, opening the door to divorces, rapes, abortions, kidnappings and murders.
There are other frightening proposals and enticements proffered to all and undermining the most vulnerable.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this very day, we must assess the depth of our slumber. A most subtle thief is stealing away innocence, fidelity, chastity, decency, common sense, wisdom and personal dignity.
The bottom line is this: do we care enough about ourselves and our children (our future) to wake up and go on the offensive?
There is no time to waste.
Isaiah’s vision (2:1-5) is the vision of a New Jerusalem, the Church. The fulfillment of that vision depends also on our alertness, our courage, our willingness to engage the opposition and on our loyalty to Christ and to His Gospel.
Ultimately, for us and for those who are dear to us, it is the only real question of life and death that there is.