The theme of today’s Gospel is standing ready. Jesus gives us an image of us standing ready with our lamps lit, anticipating our master. The image should be a real one for us., because this is is the posture of the spiritual life.
Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Transfiguration. The disciples did not know that Christ would be transfigured, it was a great shock to them. And we do not always know when we shall experience a spiritual grace. Much of our life of prayer is a hard slog. We are beset with the weakness of temptation and even with sleepiness and general mental distraction. All of this can deter us from continuing on the path towards perfection. We are not in control of grace, and we never shall be. But our Good Lord bestows grace upon us, even when we do not deserve it, and these are our moments of transfiguration.
Standing ready is a term we take from today’s Gospel to interpret our spiritual life. We stand ready with the gift of prayer. We also stand ready by the purity of the life we live: by loving those who do not love us, by advocating for others as Jesus advocates.for us, by offering grace to others who are not deserving of it; by living with the desire to grow in the true love of Christ. This is standing ready.
To ‘stand’ is not often a stationary position to adopt. Instead, it is to move, to shift weight between our legs, to be poised for an arrival, to stay awake. Our spiritual life is a constant shifting of weight, as we blow hot and cold, try and fail, and get up again. We are never still in the spiritual life, we are never of one single opinion or thought. So, let us pray for the grace to stand ready.
A reading from the Gospel according to Luke 12: 35-40
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.