Mark 13:24-37 (NRSV)
Verse 24"But in those days, after that suffering,
Verse 28"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Verse 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Verse 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Verse 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Verse 32"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Verse 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. Verse 34It 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. Verse 35Therefore, 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, Verse 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. Verse 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."
Many years ago, my grandmother was a housemaid for one of the Mayo families in Rochester, Minnesota. From her time working there she developed exacting standards for cleaning. She expected her house to be near perfect; always ready to receive guests. Reality for housekeepers like grandmother means that sometimes it is necessary to hide the vacuum in a closet at the last moment to present their home in good order for guests.
Hours before his death, Jesus is encouraging us to have our lives in good order, ready to receive him at any moment. However, he wants us to live our lives as if we didn’t need closets in which to hide things at the last moment as he arrives. Jesus is not expecting a life that looks perfect, he is expecting us to be living faithfully as his hands and feet at work in the world, ready and waiting for his arrival.
Jesus, help me to start each day with nothing to hide from you, and at the day’s end to take the closets I filled that day with my failures and empty them into your loving arms, trusting that you will forgive my failures so I can start the next day with nothing to hide from you or the world. Amen.