Once St. Ignatius of Loyola saw a religious who was sweeping the house and asked him: “Who are you doing this for?” The religious answered: “I am doing this for the love of God.” To which St. Ignatius said: “It does not matter if we serve the world in a lazy and neglectful way, but serving God negligently is something that we cannot allow.”
This anecdote can help us to understand a teaching that we find more than once in the Gospel: be ready! We must be ready for the coming of Our Lord. The coming of Our Lord means not only the Second coming but also when eternity will invade our life, and the Lord will say you must prepare a full account of your stewardship (Lk 16:2). One of the Fathers of the Church, Theophylact, explaining Jesus’ words gird your loins (Lk 12:35) says: “Let your loins be girded, that is, always ready to do the work of your Lord.” (St. Thomas A., Catena Aurea Gospel of Saint Luke, XII,10).
‘Be ready’ means that we should always do what we must do and in the way we must do it. Both of these aspects are important. It is not enough to simply do what we must do, in order to be ready. The Jesuit that was scolded by St. Ignatius was probably doing what he should have been doing but was not doing it in the way he should have. Every single activity we do should make us ready for His coming. Whatever we do should be done as a service to God.
Sometimes we divide our activities in two sections- those we do for this world: work, friends, social activities, businesses, etc. and those we do for God: prayer, church, works of mercy, etc.
There should never be a division between the sacred and secular. Rather, we must serve God always and we must do everything to serve Him, and this is what it means to be ready. Otherwise, we act like the religious who was sweeping negligently because in his mind sweeping was not as important as praying.
Being a Christian who is waiting for the coming of Our Lord, or being ready to open the door when the Lord comes, means doing everything in service of God, in the best possible way. Being ready also means doing everything we do as Christians, without making a division between the sacred (this is for God so I will do it according to the Gospel) and secular (this is for the world so I will do it according to the criteria of the world or according to my own will).