A Gospel according to Matthew 24:42:51
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
REFLECTION: "Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come"
For most of us, starting a new enterprise is much easier than to see it to the end. On the other hand, numerous times we have too many things we have to do and get overwhelmed trying to figure out how to or what to start first.
In today's story we hear of a servant that fell into complacency and stopped being faithful. And of another that was constant in his duties.
In our household, everybody is expected to help with chores. After so many years of practicing them, some are taken for granted: make your bed every day, feed the dog, etc. And others are assigned in a rotation and by age: fold the laundry, mop, vacuum...
However, it is not uncommon for the young ones to "forget" to do things that after many years you would expect they would come as second nature: brushing teeth, putting dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, etc. So as a mother I need to nudge them back to their responsibilities.
As adults, well, nobody is there to nudge us. We must see what needs to be done and get it done. And not only in material actions, but also in our interior life.
Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Augustine. He lived in the 4th-5th century and was a Bishop and Theologian from North Africa. In his writings he said that perseverance is a gift from God. And we cannot be certain if we have this gift until the end of our lives.
We need to ask God for this gift of perseverance doing each act for love: love for others and love of God.
A good way to persevere is to be constant in what we do. To do small acts of love throughout the day. Maybe even set up a schedule for our prayer life: make a morning offering when we are awake; find a convenient time to attend daily Mass or Adoration, and keep that hour open for the Lord as much as possible; pray the divine Mercy Chaplet at 3; read 5 minutes of the Bible every day at the same time; etc.
Constancy in prayer life can help bring fortitude when we encounter difficulties in life. And little by little persevere as good stewards of the Lord, bringing Him to others by small acts of love.
The defect of perseverance is called effeminacy. The effeminate forsake the good when things start getting difficult. They "give up" and "compromise".
The pandemic has been an interesting exercise in constancy and perseverance. Are we still as afraid of the virus as we were 6 months ago? Are we comfortable in our routines: constant hand cleaning, face mask on, social distancing? Or are we starting to be complacent about it and have started to disregard the rules because contagion hasn't happened to us?
Today is the Memorial of Saint Monica, St. Augustine's mother. When Augustine was a young man, he fell into a life of debauchery and dissipation. Saint Monica prayed for her son for many decades. Eventually her constant supplications gave fruit, and Saint Augustine converted into Christianity and became a Doctor of the Church.
Let's pray today St. Augustine's prayer to the Holy Spirit so we can also receive the gifts of perseverance. So at the end of our lives we can be called by our Lord "faithful and prudent servant."