Jesus said to his disciples, “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared.”
When you think you have achieved all your goals, think again! When you consider yourself a successful individual, consider it again!
Heaven is not on earth. Of course there are moments in which we enjoy some peace and stability, some success and happiness. But these moments should be considered as rest stops along a highway. They are only temporary. No matter how hard we try, we cannot stay there for long.
A few days ago I celebrated Mass for a group of students on retreat. I was accompanied by a man who had recently been married. This young man really has his head on straight. Why do I say that? Because men have a tendency to be goal driven, which means once they accomplish their goal, they sit back and relax. But not this young man! He understands very well that when he got married, he entered a temporary rest stop. He went with me on this retreat because he wanted to see his wife. He wanted to surprise her. Ah, the beauty of marriage! This is what it is all about: to be surprised on a daily basis in simple and honest ways! This young man knows that his marriage starts over every single day. It cannot be taken for granted!
This past week, so many parents wished their College bound children farewell. Be attentive! Stay alert! The rest period is over! The parenting begins again. Do not be fooled! Now, you must be in constant communication with your children. Continue to guide and encourage them. Let them know you expect nothing less than their best! It’s no time to relax. It’s time to be vigilant. So many young men begin College, so few graduate on time. The damage done on a College campus can be long lasting! And it does no one any good to wish it away or to think that it is their responsibility. We know what will happen if they mess up. They will end up back home and stay their till the age of twenty-five or even thirty-five! You also know, who he/she will blame? Oh, there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
People often ask me how I’m doing. I don’t know what to tell them. I do the same things over and over again. I say my prayers, do my meditation, celebrate Mass, hear confessions, anoint the sick, speak to people, listen to people, give talks, sit in meetings, etc… In one year and two months I have driven over 34,000 miles on my car! And I’m a parish priest!!! But although I appear to do the same things over and over again, it’s never the same things. Every day I may celebrate Mass but I’m constantly reflecting and meditating on a new passage of Scripture in a changing world! I hear confessions to a variety of people and although the sins may sound the same, they are never the same. When I anoint the sick, there are never any two that are the same. A success today may be marked by a failure tomorrow.
What must stay the same? What must I be attentive to? That my life is centered on Christ. He must be my guide when I take my next step. He must be my teacher when I speak my words. On my next assignment, he must be the one pointing the way.
There are a group of ladies praying the rosary after every Mass. As I pass them in the morning, I feel strength directed towards me! They are praying for me! They are being vigilant for me! They are staying awake for me! God bless you!
Heaven is not on earth. But one day, God willing, we will finally rest in Heaven, and that will be our best graduation gift ever!