32nd Friday in Ordinary Time, Yr 2 Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, November 11, 2022
2 Jn 4-9; Ps 119:1-2, 10-11, 17-18; Lk 17:26-37
Has anyone ever called you a “watchman?” A watchman is someone who is always on the lookout, always paying attention to their surroundings, and generally will make some noise or notify someone if they don’t like what they are seeing. A watchman is very useful in the wilderness to keep an eye out for predators. In the Navy, there is a watchman on duty all night long. In the dark, on a ship, it is almost impossible to see the surrounding sea, so they have to rely fully on their senses. It is up to the watchman to alert everyone of impending danger.
In our readings today, there is impending danger. From those who would deny Christ, the deceitful one known as the antichrist, the impending floods that Noah was preparing for, and the illicit behavior in Sodom that Lot was warned about. In all cases, we are warned that unless we keep our eyes vigilant, we will be swept away in darkness. Jesus spent a lot of time trying to get the disciples to become watchmen, so they could warn others. Sometimes they got it, other times, they were clueless. And, in a sense, sometimes I think we get it, and many times we are clueless as well.
It seems to me, that St. Martin of Tours got it. Around the age of 17, he had a vision of Christ wearing half of his coat after He tore it apart and gave it to a freezing beggar. St. Martin saw what was happening and took action, like a watchman should. God blessed him with a vision, and St. Martin converted on the spot. St. Martin then spent the rest of his life fighting heresies and building monastic communities. He eventually became Bishop of Tours in 371, and after fighting more heresies and building more monasteries, he died on Nov 8 in 397.
As I said, it seems to me St. Martin was truly a watchman. An example of how we too, should become a great watchman, to keep our eyes open and vigilant for all the dangers around us. We certainly have many out there, and I am sure we are seeing them, but are we sounding the horn? Are we like the watchmen on the ship who sounds the bell when danger approaches? Or are we like the one who is too busy consumed in their own affairs that will ultimately be left behind. As St. John says, “Look to yourselves that you do not lose what you have worked for but may receive a full recompense.” Keep watch, be vigilant and stay with the Lord through all things.