31 August
Mt 24:42-51

Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.  ‘Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their allowance of food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master will find at work when he arrives. Truly I tell you, he will put that one in charge of all his possessions. But if that wicked slave says to himself, “My master is delayed”, and he begins to beat his fellow-slaves, and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour that he does not know. He will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Master Zuigan called to himself every day, “Master!” and answered, “Yes, sir!”  Then he would say, “Be wide awake!” and answer, “Yes, sir!”  “Henceforth, never be deceived by others!”  “No, sir, I won't!”

He was playing at being two people; but he knew it, and that made all the difference.  When I play at being two people and I’m not conscious of it, then I really am divided in two, and I don’t know who’s asleep and who’s awake.  Zuigan knew.  With him it was conscious play, and therefore he could stop playing whenever he wished.  The unconscious games are the ones that control us and that never end.  There are games we have been playing all our lives: ‘I'm an innocent victim’, or ‘I can trust no one’, or ‘Everyone ought to be helping me’, or ‘Nobody cares’, or ‘I’ll never have enough’, or ‘I’m not one of them, anyway!’ or ‘The world is gone to hell,’ or ‘Nobody understands me’, or ‘I should be in charge here’, or ‘What’s the use?’….

These, and a thousand others, are ways of being asleep.  All real religious teachers, whatever their differences, have one thing in common: they all say, “Wake up!”  The whole world, you might say, is trying to wake up.  Perhaps it’s still early morning in human civilisation! 

When Zuigan said to himself, “Never be deceived by others,” I presume he didn’t mean only people.  He also meant circumstances.  Don’t be deceived by anything.  But ultimately it’s not circumstances that deceive us; it’s only we who deceive ourselves. 


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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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