Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 8, 2020
Readings: Book of Wisdom 6:12-16; Psalm 63:2-8; First Letter of Saint Paul
to the Thessalonians; Matthew 25:1-13
‘Wisdom’, ‘waiting’, and ‘watching’ are three key words from our three readings for today’s liturgy. Our first reading is a section from the Book of Wisdom, which is an instruction for those in leadership such as kings. Wisdom is a “she,” and she does not wait to be found like some pearl or secret. Possessing her is better than even the right sense of military or judicial prudence.
Saint Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians is meant for the consolation of those who have lost family members and friends. It is taken from the first epistle, which we have from the hand of Paul. It predates the writings of Matthew’s Gospel and holds out comfort for the grieving. It is a wonderful section and timely as it follows the Feast of All Souls’. We are alive and alert, because we know that we are left, but not left behind. We too will be sought for and found.
Matthew’s Gospel is a parable about waiting and watching. Five wise and five foolish young women are waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. We must ask ourselves, “Why does Jesus say that all are welcome, bright and dim alike?" Maybe this parable is meant to scare us all into behaving for fear of getting cut short.
In this parable, the groom is obviously Jesus. The young women are the Church—the believers. The oil is faith and all believers have some. The five who do not have enough oil have little faith. Faith is a virtue, and it is strengthened by its use. It is not just to have and not be used.
So we wait, watch, and listen. We will be found when we live expecting to be found. Waiting involves doing something which increases the oil in the lamps of our hearts and souls. So again, it is not those who just say, “Lord, Lord,” but those whose faith is lived brightly in the dark of today’s world. As with the man at the wedding feast who did not have a proper wedding garment, the foolish will not be recognized and left out, left behind, because they did not brighten their lives or the lives of others with their faith, but left it behind unattended.
There is a bumper sticker which reads “Jesus is Coming!” The Jesus who is coming again is the Jesus of the Eucharist and the Word in today’s Gospel. This Jesus who is coming again has come many times before and the lamp of our eyes may have missed Him because He was dressed differently from us, He wasn’t the same color of us, or He wasn’t as wealthy as us. The Jesus who is coming again will continue to come in the forms and times we may least expect. We know not the day or hour; therefore we must “stay awake.”
Question of the Day: Do you believe that wisdom and faith are worth the wait, but waiting is more than standing around?
Prayer: Father in heaven, you have promised that if anybody lacks wisdom, we should ask you, and you will give us that wisdom. We ask you for wisdom and guidance today Lord. Help us to make wise decisions that are for our good and your glory. Amen.