Watch and Prepare

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'”
(Mark 13:33-37)

Scripture Study

13:34 places his servants in charge Compare 12:1–12.

13:35 Watch When Jesus leaves, He tells His followers to proclaim the gospel in all the world (v. 10; compare Matt 28:16–20; Acts 1:6–9). Remaining alert requires expectant faithfulness to Jesus until He returns in glory. whether in the evening The time references here parallel four markers in the Passion Narrative that follows: the evening Passover meal (Mark 14:17), Jesus’ nighttime arrest in Gethsemane (14:41), His arraignment before the temple leaders when the rooster crows (14:68, 72), and His appearance before Pilate when morning comes (15:1).

13:37 I say to all Jesus clarifies that His charge to remain alert is for all who follow Him, not simply the four disciples who are present for this teaching (v. 3).

“Watch”: since we do not know when the Lord will come, we must be prepared. Vigilance is, above all, love. A person who loves keeps the commandments and looks forward to Christ’s return; for life is a period of hope and waiting. It is the way towards our encounter with Christ the Lord. The first Christians often tenderly repeated the aspiration: “Come, Lord Jesus” (1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20). By expressing their faith and charity in this way, those Christians found the interior strength and optimism necessary for fulfilling their family and social duties, and interiorly detached themselves from earthly goods, with the self-mastery that came from the hope of eternal life.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, “How long, O Lord?”

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, “as we await his coming in glory…” The Creed says, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” And the very last words of the New Testament are “Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.”

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.