Choose your language EoF

Gospel for Sunday, November 29: Mark 13: 33-37


33Be careful, keep watch, for you do not know when it is time. 34He is like a man, who departed after he had left his own house and given power to his servants, to each his own task, and commanded the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35Watch therefore: you do not know when the master of the house will return, whether in the evening or at midnight or at cockcrow or in the morning; 36make sure that, coming suddenly, he does not find you asleep. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: keep watch!

Mk 13: 33-37

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather ( Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The evangelical passage that opens the cycle in preparation for the Birth of the Lord in Year B is the conclusion of chapter 13 (vv. 33-37), the small apocalypse of Mark, in which the terms be careful and watch predominate. As always, Advent, which prepares us for the celebration and memory of the coming in the flesh of Jesus, begins the journey with a look towards the future, that is, towards the glorious coming of the risen Christ at the end of time. The pressing invitation addressed to us on this first Sunday is therefore to keep vigil, because “no one knows about that day or that hour, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father” (Mk 13:32).

The text

“Be careful, keep watch, because you do not know when the time is” (v. 33): the imperative watch (agrupteite) predominates, repeated in practically every verse (3 times), which also have clear references to the story of the passion (see Mk 14,34.37.40). The Greek word (agrypnéo) indicates someone who spends the night in the open countryside, attentive to the most imperceptible noise, to prevent the harvest from being stolen or the field damaged by some scoundrel. It is made up of agreo which means “to hunt” and hypnos which means “sleep”. Now whoever chases sleep in the night is wide awake, awake. The verb means “to be sleepless, to watch, to supervise”. In verse 33 the verb watch is paired with the other typical verb of this chapter, pay attention, be on your guard (blepete), which also occurs several times (3 times see vv. 5.9.23). It means not letting yourself be distracted from your essential task – that of sentry or doorman – which is precisely… keeping watch.

The power to serve

While waiting, the master who went on a journey entrusted power to his servants, and to each of them his task. The servant plays a role of substitute, of lieutenant. We have the responsibility of this substitution, of being servants like him, a gift, unconditional love, an oblation for others.

Be vigilant

But what does vigilance mean? Jesus himself explains it to us, with some comparisons: “Watch and be careful”. Being “attentive” means being “tense to”, “pro-tense”, “tense-to” not to be surprised by an impending disaster. Another comparison: “Watch and be on your guard” (see Mt 24.44). It means always being alert, standing sentry. People don’t want truth or to be woke; people want to sleep…

Keeping vigil means never forgetting that life is a pilgrimage, not a fortunate wandering, nor even a more or less pleasant tourist trip.

Keeping vigil means keeping alive the critical spirit towards the world’s thinking, which seeks power and not service, which puts the economy before the rights of the person, which puts criticism and struggles for a more just world to sleep with its myths .

Keeping vigil means equipping ourselves for the “holy journey” with light equipment, with the “pilgrim’s bag”, equipped with the essentials: otherwise we will not move from stage to stage, but at most we will only move from armchair to armchair.

Keeping vigil means considering others – family, friends, colleagues – our pilgrimage companions: therefore it means loving everyone as a brother given to us as a gift; it means serving everyone, but not enslaving anyone.

Watching over means considering health, work, money, entertainment for what they are: not as privileges to be defended, but as gifts to be shared.

Watching means looking to the future not as an impending and implacable fate, nor as a fortuitous, fickle and capricious destiny; it means hoping that suffering, illness, death and all catastrophes, natural or social, are not the last word of history.

Keeping vigil means carrying out the service required of us, as if it were the last, but always as “useless servants”: with our waists girded and our lamps lit.

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


Spazio Spadoni

You might also like