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Jesus wakes us from the sleep of complacency

"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." (Ephesians 5:14)

Have you ever slept through your alarm? I imagine you have at least once in your life, if not more often. I know I have many times, and I presume I will many times more again. It's so easy to do, especially once the alarm sound becomes familiar to us. We might even make the sound a part of a dream.

To combat this familiarity, I once strategically set up three different alarms in my bedroom, each with a different sound and each scheduled to go off just a few minutes apart. This worked for a few weeks until two of the alarms suddenly stopped functioning properly. I'm not sure what happened to them.

Realizing the futility of changing out and adding alarms I finally decided to change the habits of my pre-bedtime routine. I stopped eating after a certain hour and began to monitor how much television I would watch and took up reading instead. This made all the difference in the world. My rest became more peaceful, and I was able to awaken even before my alarm would go off.

Jesus uses the parable of the dishonest steward as a wake-up call for his listeners. He is intentionally trying to rouse them from their sleep of spiritual complacency. The steward acted prudently and took decisive action in hopes of ensuring his financial health and well-being. We see from the story that he is rewarded for his prudent actions.

Have you ever told yourself that tomorrow will be the day you are able to make time for prayer and spiritual reading? Or maybe even retorted that you'll have time to go to Mass once you're retired and have less to do? Has tomorrow come yet? It usually never does. At least it does not come until we decide to make tomorrow happen today. We must decide to make the changes today that will help ensure our spiritual welfare tomorrow.

Father Walter Nolte is pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Omaha. Contact him at

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