Memorial of Saint Monica
(I Corinthians 1:1-9; Matthew 24:42-51)
For a long time St. Monica lived with the hope of her son Augustine converting to the Catholic faith. She prayed and encouraged him to do so. Perhaps she found some reason to believe that he would in his deference for her. But he also had a mistress and a son. Furthermore, gifted intellectually, Augustine was aware of philosophical trends which seldom move in the direction of faith. Eventually, of course, Monica’s hope was realized. Augustine not only became a Christian but also one of the Church’s greatest theologians. Monica’s hope should inspire our own for the coming of Christ. Gospel hope lies behind today’s gospel.
The gospel is taken from Matthew’s gospel’s final discourse. The long passage treats the hoped-for events to take place at the end time. Today’s section admonishes Jesus’ disciples to practice justice and temperance in the interim. They are to distribute food and beverage fairly, never overindulging in them personally.
We are still in the interim -- after almost 2000 years! It is frustrating at times, and some wonder if Jesus will return as he promised. Yet there are signs, not of an imminent return but of Jesus’ abiding presence. Jesus clearly promised this presence as well in Matthew’s gospel. We hope that the wait will give opportunity for all to convert to his ways. As we hope, we also pray that our faith never wanes but grow into greater love for others.