The gospel appointed for this upcoming Sunday is Matthew 25, chapters 1-13, the parable of the ten bridesmaids. On the face of it, it's not an overly complicated text--its main point is succinctly summed up in the phrase, "Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." The hour, traditionally, is an eschatological reflection on Jesus' return, post resurrection.
And yet, its placement in the text is entirely theological, and a quick glance at the surrounding parables gives you a glimpse into Jesus' larger point. The preceding parable is the story of the master who gives his servants authority over his household, and to whom the master handsomely rewards the servants who manage the household well and punishes the servants who waste the responsibilities given to them.
The parable that directly follows is the story of the master who picks three servants and gives to each of them different levels of responsibility for managing his wealth, and then goes away. Upon his return, he finds that two of the servants have invested the wealth that was given to them and made a profit--he rewards them. The third does the complete opposite--he hides the wealth and makes no return on the investment--the master punishes him.
All three of the parables are evocative in many ways, but I'd like to highlight two thoughts that relate to this idea of the Kingdom of Heaven. The first idea is that the Kingdom of Heaven is already present among us--the servants have actual work to do in the here and now--it's not simply enough to wait for some future moment in which the Kingdom of Heaven arrives through some supernatural means.
The second thought is that there is a better "here and now", and that part of our job (along with God) is to be working towards bringing that more heavenly Kingdom, that kingdom of love, compassion, and inclusion, to this world which so desperately needs it.
In reflecting on the tragedy that unfolded in Texas last Sunday, we thought it would be a good and healing thing to begin to work towards the realization of that better Kingdom of Heaven. This Sunday, November 12th, all students in K - 5 will be given the opportunity to work on an art project that will be sent to the victims of the shooting in Texas. Students in middle school and senior high will have an opportunity to write notes that will be included in a larger package sent from the parish as a part of our action for the morning.
In light of the many deep tragedies in our world today, how will you respond to God's call to be involved in the bringing about of a better Kingdom of Heaven?