In today’s reading from the letter to the Thessalonians, St Paul says, “we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober “(1 Thess 5:5-6).
What does it mean to be awake? In today’s culture, the term ‘woke’ has significant currency, and depending on your perspective, it can be positive or negative. Here in Paul’s original use of the term, it means that we are aware of reality, alive to the truth and that it has changed us deeply. A person who is awake can see what is really happening, while a person who is asleep has dulled senses or is lost in dreams that are not reality.
I might put myself to sleep in a few different ways – by focussing on entertainment, by filling my life with material things, or by being ambitious for fame or status. I might live in regrets for the past or fear of the future. Jesus’ words to us today through St Paul are inviting us to be truly present to God and to ourselves now, and to open ourselves to the truth of this moment.