Great and Holy Wednesday
‘Keep awake…for you know not the day or the hour’
The earthly ministry of Our Lord was marked by powerful declarations about the nature and reality of the Kingdom of God through parables and exhortations like the Sermon on the Mount.
So too in His passion week, He gives His disciples His prophecy of the signs of the end times, and with this oracle, a warning.
‘From Babylon to America,’ now trending on Amazon Prime, is typical of the countless attempts to relate the Lord’s apocalyptic sermon, together with the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, to events current in the world. Yet with all do respect, these attempts miss the Lord’s fundamental point.
Christ does speak clearly that the eschaton will be marked by signs, tribulations, and judgment. But He adds this essential caveat:
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:36, 42)
The Lord’s fundamental purpose in His eschatological sermon in Chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew is not to present a puzzle to be solved but to issue a warning to be heeded – we must await the coming of the Son of Man with vigilance, the Latin word for ‘wakefulness.’
To illustrate this, the Lord presents the beloved parable of the Ten Virgins. The five wise ones keep their vigil lamps burning while awaiting the delayed Bridegroom. As for the five foolish ones, when the Bridegroom comes and enters the chamber for the wedding feast, they are shut out of the Kingdom.
‘And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’ (Mark 13:37)