Keeping watch

Pencil Preaching for Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will” (Psalm 40:8).

Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Luke 12:35-38

Today’s Gospel recalling Jesus’ words about remaining vigilant was probably addressed to the early church as it slowly adjusted its expectations of an imminent return of the risen Christ to the realization that he was already present and active in history.  Pastors were to keep the light of faith burning and watchful eyes focused on the ways that Jesus was revealing himself in the scriptures, the Eucharist and in its works of charity and service.  

During his earthly ministry, Jesus constantly emphasized that the inbreaking of grace was not a future event, but present in the moment.  Wherever there was faith, the reign of God was visible, happening in their midst. If believers relax their vigilance because they think everything happened long ago for the primitive church or will happen in the future, then they become that in-between generation that only waits but never experiences the fulfillment of God’s abundant life here and now in their lives. 

Paul encouraged his churches: “Today is the day, now is hour of salvation.”  Jesus is calling new disciples each day with the invitation to “come and see.” God is more intimate to us than our own thoughts, in every breath and heartbeat, the life-sustaining source of our very existence, and therefore always accessible to us.  A vigilant faith is always alert to God in all things, in both surprising ways and in the ordinary time of everyday routines.  Contemplation is not just for mystics, but for everyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.   The vigil lamp is always burning in the watches of the night, when God is as present in silence and in shadow as in the bright summons of another day.  

Pat Marrin

Pat is the former editor of our sister publication, Celebration, and he also served as NCR cartoonist. After retirement in 2016, Pat continues to contribute to NCR with his Francis comic strip and Pencil Preaching. Contact him at patrickjmarrin@gmail.com


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