The readings today are about diligent watchfulness. In the Gospel, Jesus relates the story of a man traveling abroad and leaving his servants in charge of his property. The Roman military divided the night into four watches: 6 to 9 p.m.; 9 p.m. until midnight; midnight until 3 a.m.; and 3 to 6 a.m. or daylight. A fresh set of soldiers was appointed to each watch.
Jesus uses this model to remind us that because we don't know the time of His return, we should be watchful at all times. "May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: 'Watch!'"
Sunday, Nov. 23Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-171 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28Matthew 35:31-46We begin the final week of the liturgical year with the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King. This feast day should bring us joy rather than fear. We rejoice that Christ died on the cross, ransomed us from darkness, defeated Satan, and together with the Father, gave us the Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts.
"Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh."
Today we celebrate the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, the mother of Christendom. This is the oldest and the most prestigious of the four basilicas in Rome -- the official basilica of the Holy Father. From the chair in this basilica, the pope delivers ex cathedra statements.
On Sunday, Nov. 2, we commemorate the souls of all the faithful departed.
Jesus sets the tone for the celebration when He tells us, "All that the Father gives me shall come to me; no one who comes will I ever reject. ... It is the will of Him who sent me that I should lose nothing of what He has given me; rather, that I should raise it up on the last day."
If we allow God's word to convict us, we thereby allow it to lance and heal our hearts at the same time. That is, we allow God's word to make us more like God. The first reading for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time tells us, "You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourself in the land of Egypt."