Jesus tells us that we need to be vigilant as we await the Last Judgment. But why do we need to be vigilant? We are supposed to wait for God as a servant awaits his master. The verse before the Gospel today, from elsewhere in Luke, even tells us “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21:36). This might make even less sense to us—why would we need to be vigilant or worried about how we are when we stand before Jesus? Is He not merciful? Is He not our friend and brother?
Jesus is all this and more. And that is why we must be vigilant. If I have promised to meet my dear friend somewhere for dinner, I am going to do my best to be on time. I am sure that my friend will forgive me if I am a little late, but I still do not want to disappoint my friend. I want to do right by my friend so that I can look him in the eye when I see him and stand before him. Because I do not take our friendship for granted, I want to act like the true friend that I claim to be. Because I value our friendship, I am vigilant. And if I am vigilant as I prepare to meet and stand before my friend here on earth, I am going to be all the more vigilant as I prepare to meet and stand before Jesus, my friend in Heaven.