Opening Question: Has anyone ever been nice to you even if you felt you didn't deserve it?
First Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-3
Robert was wired in class. He couldn't seem to control himself. He didn't want to study or read or follow Mr. Hall's instructions. No matter what Mr. Hall did to influence, control, or entice Robert, it just didn't work. Yet, Mr. Hall kept his cool.
Soon, Robert wanted to make Mr. Hall mad. "When will he blow up?" Robert thought to himself. Robert made other teachers mad. And he felt like he won when he did. But Mr. Hall didn't raise his voice or threaten. He just kept trying to teach and keep Robert's attention.
At the end of the day, Mr. Hall asked Robert to stay after class. "Now I have him!" Robert thought to himself. When only the two of them were in the classroom, Robert waited for the yelling and the lecture.
What Mr. Hall said surprised Robert. "Robert," his teacher said, "I know what you are trying to do. But it's not going to work. Come back tomorrow, and we'll try again."
"What am I trying to do, Mr. Hall?" Robert baited his teacher. But Mr. Hall smiled and left. "Is that all?" Robert thought to himself.
The next day was the same. Robert acted up. Mr. Hall kept his cool. It was a battle. "Who would give up first?" people thought. When others tried to acted up with Robert, Mr. Hall was there to keep them in line, focused on the day's work.
After a few days, Robert got tired of the struggle. Everyone else was working in class. Being the class cut up was only fun when he had the attention of others. When they want to work, he felt alone. Soon, Robert calmed down and worked with the class.
"Good work!" Mr. Hall exclaimed about Robert's reading. "Excellent!" he said about his math. "First rate!" the teacher said about his social studies.
At the end of the day, Robert stayed after class to talk to Mr. Hall. "I've been trouble for you lately. Why were you so nice to me?" Robert asked his teacher.
"Because I care about you and all my students. I want to see you do your best. Today you did. I just had to wait for a day like today to see you shine." Mr. Hall responded.
Like Robert, we like to do what we want to, even if it means making others mad. But, like Mr. Hall, God is patient. He is waiting for the day we will shine. Like Robert, all we need to do is follow his instructions and take his lead. He will guide us.
Bridging Question: Have you ever stayed up at night? How long did you stay up? Were you with friends? What happened?
Gospel: Mark 13:33-37
Jesus told his followers: Be on the look out! You don't know when it's the right time for the Messiah to come.
Think of a man who left his home and went on a trip. Before he left, he told to his servants to do their own jobs. And he ordered the doorman to stay awake all night long.
Be on the look out! You don't know when the Lord of our house will come. Maybe he will come in the evening, in the middle of the night, or just before dawn. If he suddenly arrives, do not let him find you sleeping.
What I tell you now, I tell everyone. Be on the look out!
Jill was excited about Laura's sleep over. "Did you hear?" Jill told one of her friends. "We get to sleep in Laura's family room. There'll be videos and snacks and games!"
Laura's party didn't disappoint anyone. The girls laid out their sleeping bags in front of the large screen TV. On top of the TV lay at least 6 or 7 video rentals. There was popcorn and pizza and soda. The girls began to settle in when Laura's mother came out with an unusual announcement. "Later tonight," Laura's mom said, "someone will surprise you." When the girls pressed Laura's mom what the surprise was, she simply said, "You'll have to stay up and find out."
Between the videos and games and snacks, the girls guessed what the surprise might be. The later it got, the more excited the girls got. But, one by one, they began to get tired and fall asleep, even Laura. But Jill was wide awake. She wanted to know who or what was coming.
Jill could see the clock said 2:30 A.M. She was watching a movie when a shadow fell across the darkened room. Startled, she turned to see her mom standing there. "Mom!" Jill whispered. "You scared me! What are you doing here?"
"The other mothers and I had a bet who could stay up the longest," Jill's mom said. "You won!"
"You're the surprise?" Jill whispered in a disappointed tone.
"No!" her mom whispered back. "This is." Jill's dad brought in huge package. By this time, the lights began to go on and many of the girls awoke to the commotion. As Jill began to open the surprise, she realized it was the doll house she wanted for the past year. Even before she finished opening it, she ran over to her mom and dad to give them hugs.
"Thank you!" Jill said to her parents. "I love you both."
Jill stayed up to wait, to be on the look out for something different. She anticipated a surprise. Jesus told his followers to anticipate the something different. They waited for Jesus to come again, but they didn't know how or when he would come. We still wait for him to come and to be with us. Like Jill was ready, he wants us to be ready, to be prepared for the surprise.
Closing Question: If Jesus showed up today, what would you say to him? What could you do for him?