The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
November 12, 2023 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 25:1-13
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.
For much of my life I have been fascinated by the passage of time. Especially the relationship between the present and the future. With the past already determined and packaged, I don’t dwell there very much. But the rest – the right now and the not yet – well, I can wonder endlessly about that.
I am a believer in cherishing the present moment, in being aware of myself and my surroundings and being attuned to others that come my way. I notice the changing seasons, the people with whom I cross paths, especially those in our family, close friends and neighbors. And I try to keep informed about what’s happening in the world around me.
But what most excites and challenges me is my connection with the unknown future. I hope good things will happen, but I also have been around long enough to know that bad things can happen – even to good people. Life is a deeply complex mix of good and bad, easy and hard, joy and tragedy.
The wise women in today’s gospel were future oriented. They made sure they were ready (as much as one can) for dealing with challenges up ahead. While their concern was material (enough oil for their lamps), what’s even more to the point is that they were stepping into their future with wisdom and hope.
None of us can predict the future with certainty. But we can enter it with a welcoming attitude and a trust in God’s help to deal with whatever comes to us. (This is often far from easy.) A few of us enter each day with some version of a prayer, “Good morning, God.” Others rearrange the words by saying, “Good God, it’s morning.” One person welcomes the new day, and others seem less hopeful.
Being hopeful is often an underappreciated virtue. Of the three great virtues, faith, hope and charity, hopefulness seems the least valued. But given our trying times, both locally and globally, it seems very worthwhile. Especially when much of the news about church life, political movements, and even the general state of the world, seems negative.
Stepping into the future with welcoming hope and genuine enthusiasm can sometimes seem naïve. But being open to receiving God’s help each new day is not a sign of weakness, but one of confidence that God is there for us with each sunrise.
David. M. Thomas, PhD