Well, here we are in the month of November. I like to call it the “month of thankfulness and new beginnings.” As I prayed and reflected on this month, many thoughts, feelings and emotions came into my heart. I began to look at what was happening in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church:
– November is dedicated to the Holy Souls,
– The Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2.
With the exception of the last three days, the entire month of November falls during the Catholic liturgical season known as “Ordinary Time,” which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and in me, it is the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, the hope of a glorious resurrection. The last part of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward. The last Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, the liturgical colors change to purple, which represents a time of penance.
November 7th – the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – the Gospel relates the parable of the widow and the coins.
November 14th – the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – This Gospel is about the second coming of Christ.
November 21st – the Solemnity of Christ the King – The Gospel is about the Messianic Kingship of Christ.
November 28th – The First Sunday of Advent – In this Gospel Jesus talks about the end of the world.
The national holiday (USA) of Thanksgiving also falls on the last Thursday of November. This Gospel relates to the 10 people with leprosy who cried out to Jesus as He entered a village “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us.” He tells them to go shown themselves to the priests. While on their way they were all cleansed. One of them, realizing they were healed, returned to glorify God in a loud voice, falling at the feet of Jesus giving thanks to Him. Jesus asked, “Were not ten cleansed, where are the other nine?”
November is a month of many stirrings in my heart, it’s a hard month for me, yet a month of great thanksgiving, especially the deep thankfulness I have to my God for the gift of my faith. Before I became a Sister, I had children. Seventeen years ago, God called my daughter, Cindy, home at the age of thirty-seven. I had to surrender her, as through my faith, I know Cindy is God’s child which He loaned to me for a while. The hole and the ache is still in my heart because I miss Cindy as if she left us just this morning. But I can rejoice at the same time, as I know she is home with our God and she no longer hurts.
Reflecting on this year, so much has happened in my life as well as in the life of many others. We have come through another year of the Covid-19 pandemic, but this year is different than last year, as this year we have vaccines to help us be protected. We have somewhat more freedom to move about, to visit with family and loved ones. When Covid-19 arose, we were sort of like those with leprosy in the Gospel of Luke (17:11-19). I just give our God thanks, glory and honor for giving scientists the intelligence to formulate these vaccines, so as to “cleanse” and protect us.
The thought comes to my mind that the vaccines are there for all of us, but so many have made the decision to refuse the vaccine. I see these as the nine who did not come back to thank Jesus. I struggle with their decisions, especially when I hear of those who are unvaccinated getting sick and dying. Such a loss of life, leaving so many in sadness and grief.
Before we could seat our newly elected President, the attack on January 6th on our US Capitol took place. It was hard to believe such out of control violence against our elected officials could occur, along with senseless injuries and deaths.
We had the many thousands of immigrants fleeing from Haiti and other parts of the world, seeking new life in our country. How many were greeted “as if they were Jesus?” Rather, many want to turn their backs on them as they didn’t cry, hunger or bleed like us. We can ask ourselves, “Where or what country did our father, mother, grandparent or great-grandparent come from?”
This month has me reflecting on the lives of three of my Community Sisters – Sr. Frances, who suffered a massive stroke; Sr. Mary Rose and Sr. Germaine Marie, who were called home to God this year. Such beautiful Sisters who touched so many hearts, including mine. It has been quite a year for us all.
The last Sunday of the month the Catholic Church begins a new liturgical year, yet in the Gospel of Luke (21:25-28, 34-36) Jesus talks about the end of the world. Some Gospel to begin the new liturgical year with!
I do not believe that Jesus is trying to scare or frighten us with this Gospel. I believe in my heart of hearts that Jesus is telling us to put aside everything – our thoughts, our judgements, our pre-notions of how things should be. I believe Jesus is calling me, and each and every one of us to live, not in the yesteryears, not trying to live or project our futures, but rather to live in the present, in the here and now. Live in the PRESENCE and allow God to work, change and mold our lives to work for the betterment of all of God’s children.
Yes, November is the month of great thankfulness to our God for bring us to this new liturgical Year. The month of new beginnings; wipe the slate clean of angers, regrets, bitterness, pride, etc. Leave them at the feet of Jesus and pray for the gift of wisdom to recognize the presence of God is all things, whether in the holding of a newborn infant, witnessing two lives joining as one in marriage, or in the loss of a loved one. Recognizing that even in chaos, we are not alone. We must have our eyes open, because God is always present in all things.
This month, each day, we have the opportunity to reflect on one thing that we are thankful for, especially as we look back over the events of this past year.
Prepare your hearts for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, by letting Advent be a time of prayer and repentance.