Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time, August 27
With Faith in the Compassionate Love of Our Beloved Savior, Let Us Never Lose the Hope Which Strengthens Our Faith in The Divine Mercy of Almighty God!
“Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
When I first read today’s Gospel passage from Matthew and was reflecting upon what to write for this meditation, the life of Saint Augustine came to mind. We find the story of his life, up until his conversion, written in his autobiography, Confessions.
Augustine, though being brought up in early childhood as a Christian, delayed being baptized and lived a depraved life of carousing and sin, all the while drifting away from the Church. He had written that he always kept Christ in the back of his heart, but that the allures and the attractions of the world were overpowering.
Eventually, Augustine found his way back to the Church, but only after a lifetime of untold prayers offered and many tears shed on the part of his mother, Saint Monica, whom we commemorate today as the “Saint of the Day”. After seeking and finding the only real Truth in the faith he had once rejected, Augustine was finally baptized, and, soon after, his mother died with the knowledge that all she had hoped and prayed for in her life had been fulfilled.
There are so many parents and grandparents of faith who pray and hope for the same miracle for their children or grandchildren, for our Lord’s words today can oftentimes hit very close to home for those who live a life of unrepentant sin –
“…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.”
I am no different from any one of you. As a father and grandfather, I have children and grandchildren, some who have freely chosen to bury Christ’s Truth in the back of their minds, and have sadly preferred the allures of today’s society, accepting the seductions and the lies which today’s world constantly offers, much as Augustine did during his early years.
There are many people today who have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to our Lord’s warning, “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” – words which reflect, on first appearance, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but they also guide us into reflecting upon the state in which our Lord will find our souls when each of us breathes our last in this life.
Saint Monica was faithful in her prayers for her son’s conversion. So, today’s Gospel message, telling us to be ready for we know neither the hour nor the day our Lord will come for us, takes on for itself an even greater meaning, especially when we reflect upon the number of years Saint Monica prayed so that her son would one day come to know and accept our Lord in his life – so that he would not die outside of God’s grace. Even my own wife constantly reminds our family, “Tomorrow morning is never promised.”
For those of us who can identify with Saint Monica, we can look forward with hope, knowing and trusting that God will not turn a deaf ear to our prayers. Even Paul, as we have been reading over the past few days, spent the remainder of his life evangelizing and converting the hearts of those who lived lives absent of God’s Truth, who lived lives outside of God’s grace.
Through perseverance and prayer, God will work on the hearts of even the most stubborn. In today’s First Reading, Paul is writing to the Church in Corinth, to a small Christian community which, over time, became strong in their faith in Jesus Christ. But their newborn faith was not without its trials and hardships.
The city of Corinth was a large seaport, a commercial crossroads – a melting pot if you will – filled with various pagan cults and marked by a measure of moral depravity, which was not unusual for a busy seaport filled with all sorts of foreign travelers and merchants, looking for pleasure in both drink and women.
Paul, who had founded the Christian community in this city, looked over it as a “spiritual father” of sorts, caring for and nurturing its growth of faith and expressions of love and charity, but not without difficulties.
For those of us who worry about the kinds of lives our children and grandchildren are living, we can identify with Paul’s love and fatherly concerns for his spiritual children in Corinth; we can identify with Monica’s love and her concern for her son, Augustine.
And both Paul and Monica can attest to the words of today psalmist in our Responsorial Psalm, “Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might. They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty and tell of your wondrous works.”
But for us to believe in God’s “wondrous works”, we must have an enduring faith, just as Monica did. And, we must persevere in our prayers and continue to be a holy example, which our Lord would wish us to be – for all our loved ones to see and prayerfully follow.
Our Lord gave to Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, the understanding that there is great efficacy, great value in the words, “Jesus, I trust in You.”
When circumstances of life begin to bear upon our minds, and when concerns begin to fill our hearts with anxiety or sadness, let us find ourselves repeating, over and over again, until our hearts are lifted in the sure and certain knowledge that our Lord will not abandon us in our prayerful needs, “Jesus, I trust in You.” “Jesus, I trust in You.”
With faith in the compassionate Love of our Beloved Savior, let us never lose the hope which strengthens our faith in The Divine Mercy of Almighty God!
Let us pray that not only you and I, but all of our loved ones, and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, may one day, with opened hearts, truly embrace and live the words which our Lord is speaking to us today, “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.”
And then, prayerfully, may each of us hear our Lord speak about us as the “faithful and prudent servant”, with the words which we hear in today’s Gospel, “Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.” †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come…So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Matthew 24:42, 44)
- “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.” (Matthew 24:45-46)
- “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.” (Matthew 24:48-51)
- “For I kept the ways of the LORD and was not disloyal to my God. For his ordinances were all present to me, and his statutes I put not from me; But I was wholehearted toward him, and I was on my guard against guilt. And the LORD requited me according to my justice, according to my innocence in his sight.” (2 Samuel 22:22-25)
- “God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:9)
- “One generation praises your deeds to the next and proclaims your mighty works. They speak of the splendor of your majestic glory, tell of your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 145:4-5)
- “With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones.” (Ephesians 6:18)
- “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Prayer for the Day
“O Most Merciful God,
Great and Omnipotent Judge of the living and the dead,
we are to appear before You after this short life
to render an account of our works.
“Give us the grace to prepare for our last hour
by a devout and holy life,
and protect us against a sudden and unprovided death.
Let us remember our frailty and mortality,
that we may always live in the ways of Your Commandments.
“Teach us to ‘watch and pray’,Anonymous
that when Your summons comes for our departure from this world,
we may go forth to meet You, experience a Merciful Judgment,
and rejoice in everlasting happiness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”