I was a really good kid growing up so I never got in that much trouble. I watched so many 80s high school movies in which teenagers threw wild parties and had to be on the lookout for their parents’ return. The closest I ever got to that type of vigilance was listening for the garage door at my friend’s house while playing the original Mortal Kombat. Once the garage door opened we had to turn of the Genesis and pretend like we were playing Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
Vigilance is a quality that allows us to keep our eyes open and on the lookout for what’s coming. For all the cool teenagers, that meant looking out for parents who were coming home too early. On Holy Tuesday, vigilance is the quality that keeps us prepared for Jesus’s return.
In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, Holy Tuesday focuses on the parable of the 10 virgins. Five virgins were foolish and weren’t prepared for the return of the bridegroom. Five virgins were wise and were prepared for the bridegroom’s return; they’re vigilance was rewarded.
This parable acts as a warning for how we should behave. Christ is returning and the parable reminds us that we shouldn’t allow our focus to wane. We need to remain vigilant in our lives, living as if Christ could return before the end of this sentence. I know that I want to be like the virgins who were prepared; I don’t want to be scrambling when Christ returns.
S.H.I.E.L.D. could have learned from the vigilance of those five virgins. After the Red Skull’s defeat the S.S.R. thought that Hydra had fallen. Little did it know, though, that Hydra was a live and well, growing within the shadows of the S.S.R. and later of S.H.I.E.L.D. S.H.I.E.L.D.’s lack of vigilance allowed Hydra to grow stronger over the years, infesting even S.H.I.E.L.D.’s highest ranks. S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn’t ready for Hydra’s return and it paid a high price.
Hydra’s reemergence may have been tragic for our favorite fictional heroes, but it definitely provided us with some amazing entertainment. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was my favorite movie last year and Hydra made Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. extremely compelling.
Along with our entertainment, though, we can also be grateful for the lesson taught us by the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Vigilance is something we should cultivate in our lives, especially in terms of Christ’s return. I don’t think that we should try to “read the signs” and predict when Jesus will return; he said himself that no one but the Father knows the day and the time. But we should live in such a way that shows we are ready for Jesus’s return.
I’ve never wanted to be embarrassed by my behavior when Jesus returns, like a teenager throwing a party or a nerd playing Mortal Kombat. Vigilance in my character and behavior should keep me prepared like the wise virgins, and help me avoid any extreme situations like Nick Fury’s car chase.
What helps you remain vigilant in your waiting for Christ?