A CHURCH AWAKE
Jesus is in Jerusalem, seated on the Mount of Olives, looking toward the Temple and talking confidentially with four of his disciples: Peter, James, John and Andrew. He sees them worried about when the end of the world will come. For Jesus, on the contrary, he worries about how his followers will live when he’s no longer with them.
That’s why, one more time, he outlines his concern: «Be on your guard, stay awake». Afterwards, bypassing the terrifying language of the apocalyptic visionaries, he tells them a little parable that usually passes us Christians by unnoticed.
«A man was travelling abroad; he has gone from his home». But before leaving «he left his servants in charge, each with his own work to do». When he says goodbye, he insists on just one thing: «Stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming». So that, when he comes, he doesn’t find you asleep.
The story suggests that Jesus’ followers form a family. The Church should be «the house of Jesus» in place of «the house of Israel». In that house, all his servants are to be found. There are not masters. All will keep waiting for the one Lord of the house: Jesus, the Christ. They should never forget that.
In the house of Jesus no one should stay passive. No one should be left out, each one has some responsibility. All of us are needed. We all have some mission entrusted to us by him. We are all called to contribute to the great task of living like Jesus. He was always dedicated to serving God’s Reign.
The years have passed. Has the spirit of Jesus been kept alive in our midst? Do we keep remembering his style of serving those most in need, the ones who can’t do anything? Do we keep following him on the path he opened? His great concern is that his Church will fall asleep. That’s why he insists even three times: «Stay awake». It’s not just a recommendation for the four disciples that are listening to him, but a command for believers of all times: «What I am saying to you I say to all: stay awake!».
The general stance of Christians who haven’t left the Church is surely passivity. For centuries now we’ve educated the faithful in submission and obedience. In the house of Jesus, only a small minority finds themselves with some ecclesial responsibility.
The moment has come to react. We can’t keep increasing even more the distance between «those in charge» and «those who obey». It is sinful to promote coldness, mutual exclusion or passivity. Jesus wants us to see that everyone is awakened, active, working together conscientiously and responsibly in his project of God’s reign.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf