Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time: "The foolish and prudent virgins"

The invitation of Jesus is very clear: "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Mt 25, 13)

In this parable specifically Christ suggests that there is a kind of sleepiness that involves all of us. Notice that the main difference between the groups of virgins is not in the fact that one group was sleeping and the other not; what makes them different is the way they where prepared for the banquet, how they anticipated their waking. Some didnt prepare for it at all. The tiredness of the activities defeated them, it was too much for them, and they surrendered to sleep without thinking of what would happen later.

On the other hand the other group knowing that the night could defeat them, found a way to have oil for the lamps, so that when they awoke they could find something to defeat the night.

As we see, it is a matter of awareness. Some of them where conscious of the fact that they could fall sleep and prepare themselves for any inconvenience and the others simple let the tiredness overcome them.

What do we do to prepare ourselves for our awakening? First it depends of what kind of sleepiness we are talking about. It is the sleep of death? Actually that sounds very connected to the end of Ordinary time, this is what we are approaching in the liturgy of the Catholic Church as we come to the last chapters of Matthew.

The ones that let sleep take control of their lives are just assuming that after the reality of this world nothing else will happen.

On the other hand save oil for the lamps, save light and even though the body will suddenly be defeated by tiredness and sleepiness, there will always be enough light to keep them from sleeping. What light are we saving? What can defeat darkness when we are sleeping, in other words when we are dead and the night of our lives will inevitably overshadow us?

The first reading (Wis 6: 12) talks about " A Resplendent and unfading wisdom", a light  that corresponds well to the oil of the gospel (Mt 25: 1-13). Because even though the sleepiness of death will come to everyone, wisdom is not subjected to the empire of death. The light of wisdom will stay with us when we listen to the voice: 'Behold, the bridegroom (Mt 25: 6)

It is good to remember that this wisdom is much more than just knowledge. It is not against knowledge, but there is more than that. This wisdom comes to those that look for it "and found by those who seek her."(Wis 6:16). It is wisdom that helps us in the art of living.

The message then will be: Learn to live this life in order to prepare for the life that will come after.

I would just like to say something about the hour and the final encounter in today's parable. All the virgins were invited to the wedding, all of them were waiting for the bridegroom. This was the proper custom of the Jewish people. To wait for the bridegroom doesn't have a joy that can be compared to on earth. The wedding is a day of joy and happiness in the Book of the Song of Songs 3:11

If we are waiting, we are not lost in uncertainty without purpose and meaning. We are called to SHARE the joy of the coming of the bridegroom, the coming of our Lord and Savior, in the intimacy of a banquet that is clearly anticipated in the Holy Eucharist. Christ is giving all of us the anticipation of plenitude of joy from His Heart in the midst of His Bride, The Church.

Like In the Mass, after the Mystery of Faith, we say "Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory". Today we say Lord, Come to our lives and help us to prepare many more hearts for your coming, Amen.

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