The Mass readings for November are leading up to the Lord’s coming as we prepare for the Advent season, the season of hope. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus begins with the Beatitudes. We can all be blessed if we hunger and thirst for righteousness. If we are merciful, clean of heart and peacemakers, we shall be shown mercy and be called the children of God. Though we may be insulted or persecuted falsely, our reward will be great in heaven. The Beatitudes give us hope for the future.
Jesus continues with the parable of the ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were wise because they were prepared for the long haul. Five were foolish as they did not have enough oil for the long wait. We do not know when the bridegroom will be coming, so we must always be prepared to meet him when he comes. We have hope.
How can we prepare ourselves? God has given each of us talents according to our abilities. It is our responsibility to develop and multiply our talents as the first two servants did. If we bury our God-given talents as the third servant did, we will be considered wicked, lazy, and unworthy of the kingdom of God. By using our talents, we continue to hold on to our hope.
As the Gospel of Matthew continues, we are told that the son of man will sit on His glorious throne and separate the sheep from the goats. All those who have used their talents to help those in need will be called worthy of the kingdom of God. The righteous will ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty and give you food or drink? God’s reply is “Whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine you did to me.” Our hope will be fulfilled.
On the last Sunday in November, we start Advent. Mark’s Gospel echoes what we have read in Matthew’s Gospel, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” We must be awake and ready if our hope is to be realized.
Sr. Ursula Herrera, O.S.B.