The gospel for today’s Mass is taken from Matthew, Chapter 24. It is a theme that you will recognize if you are a regular reader of this blog, and that is that one must always be prepared for Judgment Day. I especially like verses 43-44: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
It is an appropriate gospel for both today and tomorrow, today the being Memorial of Saint Monica and tomorrow, the Feast of Saint Augustine, two saints who lived back in the fourth and fifth centuries. In my opinion, the story of this mother/son combination ranks second only to that of Mary and Jesus in terms of holiness. Saint Augustine is one of thirty-three men and women declared as “Doctors of the Church,” but he didn’t come close to this honor during the first part of his life when he was anything but a saint. It is said that he converted from Paganism to Catholicism through the fervent and persevering prayer of his mother. Later, he became a prolific writer, teacher, priest, and bishop of the Catholic Church - an amazing turnabout. Saint Monica took today’s gospel story to heart, apparently fearing that Judgment Day would be a disaster for her son. It is a true testament to the power of prayer.
Augustine’s most famous literary work is his book “Confessions,” which is an autobiographical sketch of his conversion to Catholicism. He is a great saint today because he turned his life around in such a dramatic way. Neither Monica nor Augustine knew when the thief was coming, but, through prayer, he was prepared.
My prayer for today: Lord, at an hour that we do not expect, you are coming to judge us based on how we have lived our lives. Please give is the grace to be free from sin and to always be prepared. Amen.