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The liturgical year of the Church is about to end and New Year will come tomorrow. New Year in the sense that tomorrow will be the First Sunday of Advent, the first day of a new liturgical year of the Church. And we can find this week’s readings pointing to the end-times.

In the day’s Gospel Jesus continues His warning on the end times. For that the Lord wants us to be vigilant and watchful in prayer to be strong and faithful. What is the meaning of being watchful?

Being watchful can be translated to “be alert” which can also mean to stay awake and be vigilant. This can be true both in our daily and natural of human life general as well as in Christian life.

In a natural way, the first thing that came to our mind, as we pondered on this term is the scenario of a watchman guarding a person or building or some other valuable and vulnerable thing. That person needs to stay awake and be vigilant. He must be constantly on the lookout, particularly for any dangerous signs or impending adverse events.

Being vigilant means we are aware of danger. We see potentially dangerous situations. For example in driving, I’m always keeping an eye on the road and other drivers, pedestrians, and road conditions or obstacles. Driving in the forest, I’m always looking to see in any deer or wild animals, like badgers that might make a sudden dash to cross the road. I have to be fully and always alert.

In Christian life, Vigilance does not necessarily mean being awake and on guard 24/7. That is impossible to do. Vigilance is being spiritually ready in faith. It includes regular prayer, deep faith, being a peacemaker, exercising forgiveness, rendering charity, and all other Christian actions. It is hoping that when the Lord comes, He will see us as His own, worthy to enter into glory.

It is to be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). It involves being aware of the devil’s schemes and potential traps (2Cor 2:11). In one word, being watchful means “staying alert and constantly vigilant because there is no time to take off as holidays from this Christian life, particularly in the days we live in”.

As Christians, what are those things that we should be watchful and vigilant of at all times a in our lives?

First, we should be vigilant against the evil spirit and his temptation. It is because the evil spirit is very real in our ordinary daily living. He is roaming around us. He always finds ways on how to destroy us; on how to attack us especially in our relationship with God and others fellow human beings. He attacks us when we are sad; or when we are on trials and difficulties in life. He comes by the routine and undramatic temptations of our daily life. He sows doubts and confusion so that we will not be able to know the truth about God, His Kingdom and about ourselves. But we can only overcome evil by our own vigilance, discernment, faithfulness, patience, self-control, determination and faith.

Second, be vigilant in our relationship with God and others. We cannot separate God from our fellow brothers and sisters, his creatures.

Third, we have to be aware of the challenges of the worldly things today such as glory, fame, money, fleshly pleasure, domination and so on.

Fourth, let us be vigilant of our own death. It is because there is nothing certain in this world than our own death. All of us will experience death. Death is our common destiny. We have to be aware because there is nothing more certain in this world than death. Death is a reality. No one can escape nor avoid death.

Lastly, let us be vigilant for the Second Coming of Christ. On that day we will make an account of our lives. We have to be aware of it so that the final day should not catch us by surprise. Therefore, let us be aware that we have to return to God and live our life fruitfully, so that nothing will disturb nor separate us from God now on earth and in the future in heaven.


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