“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
What are you waiting and watching for? A phone call from a loved one? Word about a possible job? News of recent medical tests? An apology from a friend? A visit from a child? What?
Or maybe I should ask, how are you waiting?
When I was in seminary I remember a time when a good friend and I were both waiting for letters from our brothers. (Yes, this was back in the day when people actually wrote and sent paper letters by post!)
Her brother had been deployed to Iraq during the first Gulf War. Her waiting was understandably anxious, hoping that he was okay, hoping that he might come home.
My brother was studying abroad in Russia, and so my waiting was filled with anticipation as I looked forward to hearing about his experiences and adventures abroad.
We can wait for so many different things, and we can wait in so many different ways. Jesus in this passage isn’t commanding us to wait with anticipation or inviting us to imagine that the Christian life is absent worry and anxiety. Rather, he’s promising that our waiting will not be in vain, promising that even though we do not know the day and hour, yet it will come. He will return. We are therefore invited to watch in anticipation, avidly, alertly, but with full confidence that our Lord will come…and come for us.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to trust your promises, that we may wait your return with confidence and joy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.