Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44
“It’s been fascinating to watch. I’ve never seen anything like it.” – Dave Thomas
Jesus asks us to keep awake and watch. He says we don’t know when the Son of man will come. The focus and energy here is not so much on the future day (the day we don’t know) but rather the energy is found in watching today, now. When we are on the lookout, being awake, we will be fascinated by what we see, by our new outlook. Jesus goes on to speak about one taken and one left. (see Greek below) Who knows what that could possibly mean on the day the Son of Man returns? We do not see the future that clearly. But today has potential for more clarity. When we live solely for the future we miss out on today, being left behind. Life is only and exclusively lived in the now. Today those who are awake will not be left behind, nor will they leave others behind. The two in today’s Gospel, the one taken and the one left behind, can often be found in each of us. We are all both those people. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don’t. Jesus is saying we will get it if we stay awake and gaze in every direction, like a bird on a tree top, or a Secret Service agent guarding the president. What will we see when we are wide alert? When we are awake we will be attuned to the needs of everyone, especially the poor. We will be alert to the poor now because in the past they were the ones left behind because they were unseen. Some speak of repealing health care for the marginalized, for those already so sidelined, left behind. Wake up. Perhaps even nations that are awake will get it. The others will go to war. Either way it is so fascinating to watch. We have never seen anything like it, like this good news for today and not just good news for the future. There is even good news today for those of us who are asleep because there is always potential for new alertness. All is not lost. On this First Sunday of Advent we have an alarm clock.
In Matthew 24:40 and 41 it says (NRSV) “One will be taken and one will be left.” However, in the Greek it is not future tense but present tense: “One is taken and one is left.” Watch now. It’s happening now.
Dim day’s sleep murky.
This awake day all observed.
Nothing left behind.