Read: Mark 13:32-37
Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. (v. 33)
The story is told of a day when St. Francis of Assisi was working in his garden. A neighbor came by and said, “Francis, if you knew Jesus was coming today, what would you do?” Without even glancing up, Francis replied, “I would continue to hoe my garden.”
It is also reported that in Hartford, Connecticut, during the 17th century, a judge was presiding in a court when an eclipse of the sun occurred. Because the people did not understand what was happening, they panicked. They were sure cosmic catastrophe was not far off; the end of time was near. But the judge rapped his gavel, calling for order. Then he said, “If this is the end of the world, let us at least be found doing our duty. Bring in the candles and let the trial continue.”
Although Mark 13 pertains to Jesus’ second coming, we can ask the question, “What does it mean to ‘watch’ during Advent?” Part of watching is to do our assigned tasks. It is like a man going on a journey who leaves his house in the care of servants, each with work to do. The best thing these servants can do is tend to their work. Watch! It’s another way of saying: do your best at work. Listen to your children. Help your neighbor. Find opportunity to share your faith. Serve God. Watch, and see how God comes to you. —Ken Eriks
Prayer: Lord, help us stay awake and keep working until you come. In Jesus’ name. Amen.