Monthly Scripture Reflection

“those who were ready”
Matthew 25:10

On the first of November Revelation celebrates the “white robed” saints who had proved their readiness. On November 2 we pray for our departed, as St. Paul recommends to us, knowing that they may be “reconciled to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Because, as St. John assures us, God has said “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.”

So how do we know how to get ourselves ready? November’s readings are replete with warnings and advice. The prophet Malachi states the case unequivocally: “You have turned aside from the way.” “Why do we break faith with one another?” Jesus reminds us to “stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” of the coming day of the Lord. In St. Matthew’s gospel about the talents, Jesus warns that those who waste their talents should be banished as “worthless servants.”

How are we to use our talents, given “to each according to his ability?” Be smart. The Book of Wisdom says, “Taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence.” Therefore, as Jesus tells us, listen to the teachers but do not “follow their example” when “they preach but do not practice.” Wisdom again assures us that “those who trust in him shall understand the truth,” so learn. Proverbs gives the example of the “worthy wife” who “reaches out her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy.” (Men can, too, of course!) We are to stand up for our faith: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you because of me…for your reward shall be great in heaven.” Jesus says in many ways, “The greatest among you must be your servant.” And “whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine you did for me.”

What are our helps to pursue this goal? Knowing the reward. John enthuses, “what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.” Paul speaks of the “word of God…now at work in you who believe.” Ezekiel speaks of a God caring for us wayward ones, who will “rescue them from where they are scattered.” “The lost I will seek out; the strayed…bring back; the injured…bind up; the sick…heal.” Wisdom assures us “the faithful shall abide with him in love.”

The month ends with the feast of “Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.” Ezekiel continued, “I myself will give them rest.” Paul says “in Christ shall all be brought to life.” Jesus exults, “when the Son of Man comes into his glory…he will sit upon his glorious throne” and beckon us: “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Let us be among those to whom Jesus is speaking when he explains, “For I was hungry and you gave me food….” And we shall then be able to

“give thanks to God unceasingly”
1Thessalonians 7:13