These are not my words, they are from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, 5:8-l9. It is taken in the Preparation time of the Feast of Christmas. It is an obvious wake-up call to those who are sleepwalking through life. There are many, we take a look at ourselves.
St. Paul reminds us that we are “children of the Light” (Eph. 5:8) it is easy to forget this in the hurried insanity that life can engulf us in. Frequently we can wear masks to hide our real selves. Often it is easy to put on a disguise of religious piety and niceness to hide a spirit of meanness and spitefulness. And any of us can easily slip into sleepwalking through life and carry within ourselves an enormous amount of self-delusion.
So, St. Paul tells us today to “look carefully how you live” (Eph. 5:15) He says that the “days are evil”, indeed they are. And then he says to us today: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead and Christ will give you light”. This is a portion of an early Baptismal hymn. It challenges us to wake up from spiritual sleepwalking.
He tells us that we are to “live wisely” and to make the most of the opportunities given to us. This is quite a challenge to me as I go through a tangle of confusion and weakness in my own personal quest for spiritual growth. This first reading is a wake-up call to live in a life that is permeated in the light of Christ.
While we are on the subject of wake-up calls to move out of a state of spiritual sleep, we have a second reading. It is from Luke 12:16-21, the parable of the Poor Rich Man. He is a perfect example of sleepwalking through a life which is in a state of total self-delusion. He thinks he has it made; all contingencies in his life are covered. “I will build bigger and better warehouses, I have more then enough for my retirement, I can sit back and take it easy”. Nothing in his life is shared; his life is a cocoon of self-centeredness. But then comes the great wake-up call – his death. Far from a falling asleep, death is our ultimate wake-up call. Illusions, self-deceptions are finished. Masks and pretensions disappear and we stand as we are in the light of Christ.
- What illusions, self-deceptions are keeping me from fully walking in the light of Christ?
- If I should be required to hand over my soul to God today, is it rich in the things of God?
Originally published on December 7th, 2003