Gospel Mark 13:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’
Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the Gospels; the oldest and, in many ways, the most down to earth. It doesn't seem to have the agenda that the Jewish Matthew puts on his or the Gentile Luke on his. It’s a fast paced Gospel to read – perhaps the memories of Peter; a straightforward man. So this End of Days chapter is not really about the End but about the Now.
My relationship with Jesus, has grown stronger by the reality of his humanity. I have a relationship with the type of person he is to me. I often pray to him as a brother - as he tells us to, and feel comfortable with the idea – although, obviously the most ideal of brothers.
And that can be a problem – that we forget that Jesus always carries within him that otherness that is God; that is as much him as his humanity. The Incarnation isn't a body going spare with God in it – he is God made Man. And so his mission isn't just three years of walking and talking; it isn't just the healing and feeding; it isn't even ‘just’ the trial and the crucifixion. He is already looking ahead; to the ‘what happens next’ – for each and every one of us.
And that is it; Jesus is, was, will be the Word. Whatever led to his presence on earth, the Word was, is always here. He has his place in the Trinity, pointing always to the Father, encouraging trust in the Holy Spirit.
His living ministry plants seeds, makes wine and bakes bread; feeds the hearts of those who want to build this Kingdom. And that Kingdom needs to grow, knowing that the world is against it. It needs to grow strong, knowing that the world is devious and will try to overcome it. It needs to grow in love, knowing that the world needs it.
That is our task and it is not easy; we are warned not to be fooled by an imagined future because every day is a time of harvest and who knows when it will be our time to be weighed.
The Gospel suggests that this coming was within the disciples lifetime and that was hard enough. We have spent two thousand years listening, watching, guarding – and for what? We have given ourselves a clue. Advent - Adventus - Coming. We stay awake for the signs of portents of God's presence on earth. We are on guard for those sons and daughters of Man who reveal God in themselves. We remember that we are the doorkeepers to a renewal of the Salvation story that begins with a baby's cry. And who would want to sleep then?