“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts his disciples to stay vigilant. The kind of anticipation he is asking them to assume is not passive waiting. By asking his disciples to gird their loins and to light their lamps, he is inviting them to actively wait, to be prepared.
I imagine the servants in the Gospel story keeping food warm and standing ready to hang up the master’s cloak and wash his feet when he does arrive. They are probably expecting the expected, ready to serve the master as they have always done. Then comes the surprise. When they hear that knock and rush to open the door, the master commends them for being ready. Then he asks them to sit down at the table and tells them: “Tonight I’m going to wait on you!”
The hard work of being faithful will not lack its reward. How will God surprise you today?
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.