Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Therefore, 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 (Matthew 24:35-36;42-44).
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,” but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:8-9).
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you . . . plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5:5).
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).
Stay awake! Always be ready for Jesus’ return. But let’s not worry when some self-proclaimed prophet predicts the exact date of the Lord’s Second Coming. Jesus warns us that “no one knows” the exact date of his return (Matthew 24:36); the end could come at any time, and he wants all of us to be ready every day to greet him when he does come back (Matthew 24:42-44). This is not just some vague warning. It’s a practical approach to life that we all should adopt. “Father, I ask for the grace to patiently awake your return, in spite of what I see occurring in my life and in the world – for your word says that ‘with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day’ (2 Peter 3:8).”
Stay awake! Remember who you are: a beloved son of your Heavenly Father, and close to his heart. You are loved, precious, and unique, and your heavenly Father delights in you. You are not just the subject of a distant God. You are his own beloved son, and he cares about you! He rejoices when you do; he wants to lift you up when you are down; he wants to comfort you when you’ve been hurt. That is why we need to spend some time, daily, alone with the One who is always on our side. “Father, awaken in me the truth that I am your beloved son so that I can live in that truth each day, as I come into your presence.”
Stay awake! God has plans for your life, plans for your good, plans to give you a future full of hope (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants to involve you deeply in his plans, even when it looks like the same old job, the same old daily routine, or the same old schedule each week. Ask him! He loves to share his intentions with you. “Father, show me more clearly what are your plans for me now? Show me more clearly how you want me to draw closer to you and your Son? Show me more clearly how to build your kingdom today?”
Stay awake! Satan would like nothing better than to catch you asleep. Be wary of his lies, especially when he tries to tell you that you are weak, worthless, insignificant, and you (or things) will never change. Be alert, for the devil wants to bind you with cords of self-pity, anger, bitterness, and grudges; and with lustful temptations in thoughts and actions. Don’t fall for it! God has called you to holiness not to impurity (1 Thessalonians 4:7). Forgive others. Ask forgiveness. Strife, lust, anxiety, and fear are his territory. Turn to your Heavenly Father when you find yourself there. “Father, open my eyes and ears so I can resist the devil, knowing that he will flee from me (James 4:7).”
Stay awake! God has poured out his love into your heart (Romans 5:5), a love that can flow out to others. When challenges come, don’t panic. Ask the Father to help you hear what he hears, see what he sees, love what he loves, and do what he wants you to do. And he promises this: His “grace is sufficient” for you and me (2 Corinthians 12:9) and nothing can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
“Father, fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit and give me the graces I need to “stay awake.” Help me to be that man of God you have called me to be and to live a life pleasing to you. Help me to be alert to what you want me to do each and every day.”
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to adapt some material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take a few minutes to read and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What are they saying to you?
- The article challenges us to “Stay awake! Always be ready for Jesus’ return.” What do these words mean to you?
- What are some of the obstacles in your life that keep you from responding to Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:35-36;42-44? What steps can you take to overcome them?
- Do you believe these words in the article? “Remember who you are: a beloved son of your heavenly Father, and close to his heart.” Why or why not?
- Do you believe the words of Jeremiah 20:11 that Gods plans for you “are for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope”? Why or why not?
- The article also challenges us to resist the Devil’s lies and temptations. The article lists some of the lies he uses against us. Which of these lies, or other lies, tend to impact you the most? How can you lessen their impact?
- At the end of each paragraph in the article is a prayer to our heavenly Father. Take some time now to pray these prayers, including the one at the end of the article, to strengthen you in answering Jesus’ call to “Stay Awake”.