Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week of Ordinary Time November 26th, 2022 – Lk 21: 34-36
Today we celebrate the very last day of the liturgical year; come this evening, we’ll already be starting our celebration of Advent. The Gospel is a very fitting conclusion for this week’s readings, which have reminded us, time and time again, of the difficulties that are to come and how God will see us through them. Today’s Gospel gives us two pieces of advice: to be vigilant and to pray always. The Greek words Luke uses literally mean “be sleepless” and “wholeheartedly beg God.” Despite the ominous tone, Jesus’ words should actually fill us with hope, because there is a possibility that we will be able to escape the trials and come to stand before Christ our Lord. This, of course, depends on our constant vigilance in prayer and trust in God and His goodness since without that trust, we cease to care about what He asks of us.
We have a model of both constant prayer and hope in the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose memory we venerate today. As a model of prayer, Pope Benedict XVI explained that “in all the events of her life, from the Annunciation through the Cross to Pentecost, Mary is presented . . . as a woman of recollected prayer and meditation on the mystery of God’s saving plan in Christ.” She was constantly concerned with doing the will of God, and always in constant communion with Him.
Likewise, Mary is also the Mother of Hope, a title that is attributed to her from an apparition at Pontmain in France in 1871. The small town was in an uproar as the Prussian army approached, but in the chaos our Lady appeared to two young boys with a message that gradually appeared, letter by letter, under her feet: “Pray, my children. God will answer before long. My Son lets Himself be moved.” It’s interesting that the adults who were present couldn’t see Our Lady or the message; the boys had to read it to them, letter by letter. At one point, when they reached the part “My Son lets Himself . . .” (se laisse) the adults insisted the children had it wrong, and that the message was “My Son grows weary . . .” (se lasse); the two words differ only by a letter in French. The misunderstanding isn’t a reflection on Jesus, but rather on the way the adults saw Him. Jesus wasn’t weary or tired; the adults were. Today we can ask ourselves about the hope we place in Jesus and His Mother and how much we really trust in them.
Let us pray, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Hope, for the grace to never tire in our service of God and our neighbors, and to pray constantly, asking God for His never-failing assistance.
 Cf. Jean d’Elbee, I believe in Love, 62.
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