During Advent, in each year of the three-year cycle, the theme of the first week looks to the end times—the eschaton—with an emphasis on the second coming of Jesus and the need to be ready. In the early church, there was an expectation that Jesus would return quickly. In their post-Easter faith, believers knew that Jesus had been taken up to heaven at the ascension (a man travelling abroad, as mentioned in this gospel?) and that he was remaining with God until the time came for him to return in triumph. For Mark, it is now the church that waits and must remain always ready to greet the master on his return. The ‘waiting’ theme of Advent is established: we await the birth of the child and we await the fulfilment of human history at the end times when Jesus comes again.