Keeping our souls in readiness...
Reflections on the readings for the Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 8, 2020): WIS 6:12-16; PS 63:2,3-4,5-6,7-8; 1 THES 4:13-18; MT 25:1-13
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Wisdom is not simply a personal attribute; it should be lived through good works and reliance on God.
Both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel for today address the need for those seeking God’s will to do so with wisdom. Wisdom is something of a culmination of other virtues including understanding and prudence. Wisdom is not simply a personal attribute; it should be lived through good works and reliance on God. In the parable that Jesus tells about the Wise and Foolish Virgins, we learn how our eternal life depends on how wisely we live everyday. Ten virgins are entrusted with the task of welcoming the bridegroom with lighted lamps. Five brought not only their lamps, but also extra oil. The other five had only their lamps. The Bridegroom is delayed and, while waiting, they all fall asleep. When finally he arrives the five wise virgins light their lamps. The others realize they cannot do this and ask the first group to share, but the five with now-lighted lamps tell the foolish virgins to buy their own oil. Meantime, the wise ones join the Bridegroom for the wedding feast and the door is locked. “Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.’” (Matthew 25:11-13)
Christ wants us all to realize that we cannot anticipate His Final Coming. We must prepare ourselves for the Last Judgment throughout our lives. Any of us who think that we always have time to change our ways, to be better and more virtuous, and more generous to those in need, are fooling ourselves. Many of Jesus’ followers and the early Christian communities believed that the end of the world would happen quickly. Two thousand years later we know that we still need to be ready spiritually. Perhaps, like all the generations that have gone before us, we will ourselves die before Christ’s Second Coming. But whichever happens first, we need to lead lives of grateful and generous love, guided by the wisdom to let God be God – and to do humbly whatever He asks of us day-by-day.