Advent is the time when we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas. There are two major orientations in this liturgical season: our preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus and our preparation for the celebration of his First Coming. In this first week, the Gospel invites us to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus at the End-time. During the other three Sundays of Advent, we are introduced to different people who helped prepare the way. The Prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary who says yes to God's call to become the mother of the Savior. In keeping with the spirit of Advent, today's Gospel is an invitation to be vigilant. It is taken from Jesus' speech about the end of time (Mk 13) where he urges his disciples six times to be vigilant and to 'stay awake.' The return of Jesus is likened to that of a master of a house. Before setting out on the journey, the master gives to each person a specific task. The door keeper also has his work and has to keep awake to open to the master at any moment, even if he comes during the night. The Gospel writers want to make us realize that to be a Christian is to belong to a family of which there is a head. The head of the family is not always physically present. It is as though he has gone somewhere but has not abandoned his children. The Master has told them what to do in his absence as they await his return. Some early Christians thought that Jesus would return during their lifetime and decided to stop working. Paul has to scold them and order them to resume (2Th.3:10-13). Mark found it necessary also to remind his readers not to be idle just because Jesus is not physically present nor to despair in the midst of their troubles because he will come back in victory. In our congregations, we share our different ministries so that all member of the "household" are meaningfully occupied as they await Christ' return. We must be faithful and watchful because we will have to give an account to the Master when he comes.