A new word in our modern English is “woke”. It means a person is awake but with an extreme connotation to left wing philosophy. I love the word “woke” but not the strong modern nuance! The Gospel today beautifully shows us we must stay awake to the coming of Jesus! Jesus was two thousand years ahead of our modern implication of this word,“woke”! We are chosen “woke” people that Christ is everything in our lives!
In the Gospels Jesus tells us many times with different words to stay awake to His coming! “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast” Lk 12:36) The word in the original Greek text for wait is prosdechomai which means a lot more than waiting! The biblical word comes from “dexomai” whichmeans to welcome. It adds the preposition “pro” to welcome which means a very strong attitude and emphasis of yearning or longing. For example, Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees and the scribes: “This man welcomes (prosdechomai) sinners and eats with them.” Lk 15:2 He receives them with understanding and deep love as a doctor to save people afflicted with the deadly cancer of sin.
In today’s Gospel we are to be like people with an intense loving expectation of the coming of Jesus’ A beautiful example of this in Lk 2:26’ “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting (prosdechomai) for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Simeon was among the first “woke” ones like the shepherds and Magi to receive Jesus in His arms like Mary and Joseph!
We must welcome Jesus “like men who are waiting prosdechomaifor their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks” (Lk 12:35) ! Karl Rahner beautifully expresses welcoming Jesus: “We’re actually, really, dealing with Jesus only when we throw our arms around Him and realize right down to the bottom of our being that this is something we can still do today.”
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.