Jeremiah Goodwin ’07 M.A.

Today’s reading offers us two images of waiting for Jesus: the servants who are put in charge while the master is away and the gatekeeper who watches for the master’s return.

These images remind me of another gospel passage that is close to my heart, the story about Martha and Mary.  Martha is like the servants who are put in charge while the master is away.  She works, she prepares, and she is diligent in carrying out a great number of tasks so that she will be ready to serve the master.  Mary is like the gatekeeper who watches for the master’s return.  She focuses all of her attention on one thing, the presence of the Lord.

Today’s gospel calls us to be prepared to welcome the Lord into our lives when he comes, just as Martha and Mary welcomed Jesus into their home.  The end of this reading seems to indicate that the gatekeeper has “chosen the better part,” like Mary.  It commands us to, “Watch!”

How do we keep watch when we can’t see what is coming, when we don’t even know what to look for? Perhaps it is by working as one of the servants who is put in charge while the master is away.  If we work doing the will of the master, we keep the watch that he has commanded.  Just like Martha, if we prepare to serve Jesus (as long as we have the right attitude), we prepare to place ourselves in his presence.  In the end, Martha and Mary were both doing the right thing.  Martha just needed to focus her hard work and preparations on the Lord himself.

As we begin this season of Advent, let us commit to serving one another–especially those who are in great need this holiday season– so that we might keep the watch that the master has entrusted to us.