HOMILY FOR THE 32nd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS: BE WISE. BE VIGILANT.
We are approaching the end of the liturgical year and for today’s homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, the Mass readings lead us to consider the end of the history of the world and the glorious return of the Resurrected Christ.
In the 1st reading, the book of Wisdom invites us to seek, find and possess authentic wisdom (Wis 6:12–16), for he who does so will never be disappointed.
- “Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate.”
He who lives wisely, is the person who lives in Christ and dies in Christ. And he who dies in Christ shall rise first when the Lord returns again, as St. Paul teaches in the 2nd reading (1 Thes 4:13–18).
- “For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”
The attitude which God asks from each one of us is that of loving vigilance, as Jesus teaches in today’s Gospel (Mt 25:1–13) where He compares the kingdom of heaven to “ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.”
- The foolish virgins, in contrast with the wise ones, neglected to bring extra oil for their lamps and were excluded from the wedding feast when the bridegroom finally arrived: “‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’”
- Jesus invites us all to prepare ourselves to enter the eternal wedding feast and He reminds us: ” stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour (Mt 25:13).”
Our Lord encourages us to stay awake. Staying awake, in practice, means having the light of faith, which is kept alive with the oil of charity.
- Jewish weddings took place in the house of the bride’s father. The virgins are young unmarried girls, bridesmaids who are in the bride’s house waiting for the bridegroom to arrive.
- The parable centers on the attitude one should adopt up to the time when the bridegroom comes. In other words, it is not sufficient to know that one is “inside” the Kingdom, that one “belongs” to the Church: one has to be on the watch and be preparing for Christ’s coming by doing good works and by fulfilling God’s Will.
- Anything which implies indifference to God’s Will, living life for one’s self and living for this world would constitute a spiritual slumber which would lead to nefarious consequences at the end of one’s life.
The vigilance to which God invites us to live should be continuous and untiring, because the devil is always after us, prowling around “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Pet 5:8).
- As St. Augustine teaches “Watch with the heart, watch with faith, watch with love, watch with charity, watch with good works…; make ready the lamps, make sure they do not go out …; renew them with the inner oil of an upright conscience; then shall the Bridegroom enfold you in the embrace of his love and bring you into his banquet room, where your lamp can never be extinguished” (Sermon, 93).”
- And if ever, out of weakness, we have strayed along the path, let us rectify our ways through humility and contrition, and wake up from our spiritual slumber in order to seek and love God in our daily activities.
Dear brethren in Christ, when our time comes, we do not want to hear from Our Lord those words: “‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’” While there is time, there is hope. Our Lord in his bountiful mercy, continually seeks us out and gives us the opportunity to mend our ways.
Let us then ask God, through the intercession of Our Lady, Gate of heaven, refuge of sinners, Help of Christians, for the grace of conversion so as to live our life in loving vigilance with the light of our faith and the oil of charity, so as to be ready to meet the Bridegroom when He comes. May we tell our Lord with good deeds of faith and charity: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God (Psalm 62).”
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
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