What might Jesus want you to do before he returns?

Readings: Wis. 18.6-0, Ps. 33, Heb. 11.1-12, Lk. 12.32-48

"Be vigilant Ö for the Masterís return." Jesus gives us that instruction in this morningís gospel. Most of us probably are already fairly vigilant. We go to Mass each Sunday. We pray daily. We go to confession periodically. Most likely we volunteer in the parish and/or town. Day in and day out, we try our best to love God and our neighbor as ourselves.

Could we become more vigilant? Maybe? When guests attend weddings, couples in the pews probably reflect on their marriage vows and married life. Funerals clearly cause us to ponder about the meaning of life in general, and the status of our individual life before God. New Yearís Eve, birthdays, anniversaries and the start of a new school year oftentimes occasion people to make resolutions, to try harder, to do better. Todayís gospel reading and others like it repeatedly urge us to be vigilant for the Masterís return.

In your life, what one thing might Jesus want you to do before he returns? Ö

May I suggest the universal pathways of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Prayer. Recently, I hear more and more people saying, "Our country is in big trouble." They explain their fears as political, economic, social with the redefinition of marriage, and cultural over the current cultural wars. Regarding the future, some people say that they are scared. Jesus commented about this feeling when he says in todayís gospel: "Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your father is pleased to give you the kingdom." May I suggest that when you pray, place yourself in Godís hands. Follow St. Augustineís advice: "Work as though everything depends on you. And pray as though everything depends on God." No one of us can change the world; reduce your expectations. If you could effect positive change in your own life, or your family and friends, that would be a huge contribution to the kingdom of God.

Fasting. Most of us probably could benefit physically from eating and drinking less. We might fast also for spiritual growth. We might consider fasting from gossip. Everybody talks about people. St. Paul teaches us: "Say only the good things that people need to hear." Most of us would benefit from not wasting so much time in front of a TV. Imagine the good we might accomplish in reading a good book, praying in private, or calling someone with whom we havenít seen or spoken in a while.

Almsgiving. Jesus says this morning, "Sell your belongings and give alms. Ö Seek an inexhaustible treasure in heaven." Many of us have more things than we need. Keep alert for how we might share our time, talent and treasure.

Jesus warns us, "Be vigilant for the Masterís return." In your life, what one thing might Jesus might want you to do before he returns? Ö

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