Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time- Year A

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Joseph G. Ryan, O.S.A.
Villanova University
Villanova, Pennsylvania

Readings
Wis 6:12-16
Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
1 Thes 4:13-18 or 1 Thes 4:13-14
Mt 25:1-13

Recently, I was up in Connecticut for a high school class reunion, 45 years, and driving up Route 91, I drove past a mountain crest I hiked on when I was a Boy Scout in grammar school.

I had a lot of fun then, camping, fishing, and hiking. Life was a lot simpler then. When I read the readings for this Sunday, I could not help but to think of the Boy Scout motto, Be prepared.

In the first reading, it is one of my favorites in all of Hebrew scripture: the story of Lady Wisdom

Who is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her….

Whoever watches for her at dawn, shall not be disappointed for he shall find her sitting at his gate.

Waiting for anyone who seeks her.

She is like the dawn that promises the bright light of day.

Lady Wisdom is God’s special gift to humanity to lead us to salvation.

She leads us into the light of truth, and she offers us a confidence that comes with finding meaning in life, a meaning that goes beyond our ordinary lives and leads us to the hope of heavenly joy.

She guides us along the path to eternal life and she would certainly tell us to be prepared, for someday, Jesus will return in glory to judge the human race.

The theme of being prepared also fits with today’s gospel of the foolish and wise virgins who await the return of the bridegroom in preparation for a wedding feast.

Like Lady Wisdom, the virgins are tasked with bringing light to guide the groom back to the wedding banquet.

The gospel definitely refers to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the bridegroom in the story, and the wedding banquet is the heavenly banquet at the end of time.

The story reveals to us the path of wisdom. Wise people are always prepared for future events while foolish ones are not prepared.

Being prepared has been important in facing the threat of COVID-19, making sure we have our personal protective equipment, safely social distancing, and practicing cleanliness, washing one’s hands, are wise tactics in the present time.

The foolish virgins in the story do not bring enough oil to keep their lamps lit until the groom arrives.

In our present day, there are those who do not look beyond their lived present, and do not believe in the supernatural, let alone the end of the world.

Such people live life in a consumeristic society with no aim but the satisfaction of their earthly wants.

They are not prepared for the end time or God’s heavenly kingdom.

Many don’t have a concern for the needs of the poor, the sick, and the needy. They do not practice the corporal works of mercy for others.

They do not realize that corporal works of mercy are the gate that leads to eternal salvation.

Like the foolish virgins who wander off into the darkness, they face eternal darkness.

The wise virgins live in the light. They are prepared for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

They prepare for the return of the bridegroom by living virtuous lives. They live for the good of others.

They are generous with their possessions which they use for the good of others in need.

They practice daily prayer, reflect on the sacred Scripture, they pray the rosary and receive the sacraments of the church, like the sacrament of reconciliation and the Eucharist, frequently.

They practice humility, and perform their good deeds quietly.

Those who are prepared by their faithful witness, lead others into the light, leading others to Christ.

In short, like Lady Wisdom, they are a source of light, they live in the light and that light will lead them beyond death so that they might joyously meet the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and enter the eternal wedding banquet.

As we follow Christ, we hope for a happy ending of our lives that will lead us to eternal joy.

In order to reach God’s heavenly kingdom, each of us need to be prepared, none of us knows when the bridegroom will return and none of us wants to face the rebuke from the bridegroom as when he confronted the foolish virgins.

We hope for eternal joy, and we have the hope of such joy when we live in the light of Christ and live lives that are worthy of followers of Christ.

We need to be prepared for the inbreaking of God’s kingdom. A time of the already and not yet.

If we do this we will be prepared and will shine like the light with the hope of entering God’s heavenly banquet when our sojourn on this earth is through.