End times. Final judgement. Stay awake...

End times. Final judgement. Stay awake, and be ready at all times. The November readings are certainly preparing us for Advent and a new liturgical year.

Yet, as we approach the end of Matthew’s Gospel in these final Sundays of the year, we need to remind ourselves of what Matthew wanted his community and us to remember. His community was trying to understand and grow in its sense of identity as followers of Jesus Christ. Who should they follow: the Jewish teachers and religious authorities or the disciples of Jesus? They remind themselves that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah who came to save God’s people, yet they struggle with deep-seated prejudices regarding who is saved and who is not. From the beginning, Matthew makes it clear that Christ welcomed and included all in the good news of God’s saving love. And, they are told to act the same way to continue the mission.

The Sundays of November will ask us to ponder if we have been faithful, humble servants. Have we done all we could? Did we trust and believe in God’s mission so much that we gave everything to build the same inclusive reign of God that Jesus initiated? In the end, we will be asked if we acted as true followers, caring for the weakest and the most rejected. If we did, we truly followed Christ because we saw the face of God in those  around us and welcomed them as our sisters and brothers.

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