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Beware, Keep Alert

Beware, Keep Alert

Monsignor Bill Schooler

MK 13:33-37: Jesus said to his disciples, “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 telling us to be alert and awake, Jesus is setting the tone for this Advent season.

St. Mark places these words…just prior to his account of the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus faces those events with calm and trust in his Father’s love. Advent reminds us that the Lord will come again at some time in the unknown future.

But in preparing for that second coming, we also prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. Being alert and awake has nothing to do with fear and dread. It has to do with trust that the Lord is present to us already, in so many ways.

Being alert and keeping awake involves being sent from the liturgy to recognize Christ in the ordinary events of our lives: in our families, our friends, our coworkers, those who come to us in need, and countless other situations. When we are alert and awake to the Lord’s presence, we understand more clearly that we can best respond to this command by giving ourselves in humble service.

Copyright © 2017 University of Notre Dame Monsignor Bill Schooler Instructor, Master of Divinity Program