Saturday, November 26, 2016

Why we Should Always be Prepared for God's Presence

Jesus reminds his listeners to be vigilant and prepared for the final days. The risk, he says, is to be caught off guard because we become so self absorbed with the worries of life, deviant living, and drunkenness. The ways of worldliness distract and blind us to the way of eternal life in Christ, and Jesus reminds his listeners to stay focused on living, loving, and forgiving like him: “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (36).

Our strength to be in Christ is initiated by God’s grace and fulfilled by our choices. We must pray, then, for God’s grace and the openness of our hearts to receive and act on it. If, instead, we lean on own strengths and choices, “the worries of this life” will eventually lead us to sin. And sin robs us of the eternal life God is so eager to give.

Jesus reminds his hearers to live lives focusing on God, praying for the courage and strength to persevere in faith amid a troubled world. And when our isolated choices lead us to fail (which I often do), we cannot give up and lean on our own pride. We must remember that God permits our failures for the purpose of building us up in Christ.

When I fail and realize my sinfulness, I lean on the mercy of Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, St. Paul reminds us that the power of Christ is made stronger through personal struggle: “...[Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” The temptation, however, is to adopt a smug attitude, put on airs of pride, and justify our behavior in the context of a modern world. Personal pride always pulls us away from God.

In the ugly face of my sins, I choose humility, “... praying that [I] may have the strength to escape” (36) temptation and live in the mercy of God’s love. And while enveloped in the merciful love of God, I, too, can live a life reciprocating that love and mercy to others.