Vigilance is one of the twelve virtues of Lasallian teachers – that means your Lasallian educators are paying special attention to your welfare: keeping you safe and watching out for you. It is a virtue that even those of us who are not educators must develop and some day will be our responsibility. You will notice in today’s first reading how vigilant St. Paul is about the new Christians in Thessalonica that have been entrusted to his care. His vigilance is especially expressed in prayer: “Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith.” St. Paul basically says that it would kill him if the Thessalonians lost their faith: “For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.”
All of your educators feel the same way about you here at Mullen, it would kill us to see you lose your faith. And we know that this happens frequently to teenagers and young adults especially in today’s world. We see you as having been entrusted to us by God Himself, and we are committed to remain vigilant so that you will enter into your true life here on earth and the eternal life of heaven. Mullen is a place of salvation, as are all Lasallian schools. We, as educators, have been good stewards of what has been entrusted to us if you find salvation, liberation, and healing.
Vigilance is not only a virtue of Lasallian Educators. It is an essential Christian virtue. We must be vigilant because there are enemies trying to break down and destroy what is good. There is a thief who comes after us every day trying to steal our faith in the presence of God. He tries to steal our hope. He tries to steal compassion from our hearts. This enemy is very real, and he tries to work undetected, in the shadows, and at night. We must be vigilant as Christians because the very special gift that God has given us can be stolen if we fall into serious sin or apathy. Look at the wicked servant in today’s Gospel:
if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’
and begins to beat his fellow servants,
and eat and drink with drunkards,
the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day
and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely
and assign him a place with the hypocrites,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
What God had entrusted to him he used selfishly and also brought harm on those around him. Part of vigilance is remembering that our Lord and Master will return soon – we must keep our house and our lives in order so that we can be prepared for Him to arrive at any moment.
This year, in a particular way we are honoring our Patron Saint Joseph. St. Joseph is a tremendous intercessor and vigilant protector. He literally had to watch over and protect Jesus as a vulnerable child. He was anxious when he lost track of Jesus in Jerusalem. St. Joseph not only watches over us and protects us with the same care he had for Jesus, but he also teaches us to have that same virtue of vigilance for our own souls and those entrusted to us. You will receive today an prayer you can use to invoke St. Joseph and receive his help.
St. Joseph: Pray for us
St. John Baptist de Lasalle: pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts: forever.
This is why I am admonishing your graces and urging you in the Lord to think lightly, my brothers and sisters, of things present, which you can’t carry with you when you die. Be on your guard against sin, on your guard against injustice of all sorts, on your guard against worldly appetites and greed. It is only then, you see, that our profit from you is undiminished and our reward full of joy in the Lord. I mean, we say what has to be said. We preach what has to be preached and absolve ourselves of our debt to the Lord in the Lord’s sight. We haven’t kept quiet about what we fear, and haven’t kept quiet about what we love. So the sword of the Lord’s vengeance, upon whomever it may fall, cannot blame the sentinel for failing at his post. Still, we don’t want our reward to be assured with all of you being lost, but with all of you being found. The apostle Paul too was sure of his reward, and yet what did he say to the people? “Now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”1