This lesson begins with “after that suffering.” If we look back a few verses in this chapter, we see that the suffering that Jesus is referring to is the persecution of Christians because they are Christ’s (Mark 13:9-13). To continue from our recent readings from Matthew, those who live lives that are profitable to the Kingdom of Heaven will not be treated hospitably by those who live according to other priorities. Like Jesus, who lived according to the priorities of the Kingdom of Heaven and suffered pain before entering into joy, the Church will suffer before being gathered from the ends of the earth. How are we, as Church, experiencing this pattern of suffering on behalf of the Kingdom of Heaven before entering into joy?
Jesus promises that his words will not pass away. His death was not the end of his story and suffering for his sake is not the end of the Church’s story. We are called to be alert, to recognize suffering in the name of Christ is a call to be aware that Jesus’ return is close. What, as Church, are we doing so that we are growing in our trust of Jesus in the midst of suffering?
In the parable, the master goes away and expects his servants to not only care for his household but also to watch for his return. How can we, as Church, use the suffering of the Church and the expectation of our Master’s return to spur us to good works for the sake of his kingdom so that we are awake and prepared for his return?
 From The Book of Common Prayer, collect for Monday in Holy Week and the Daily Office collect for Friday morning, Rite II: “Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”