Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A
November 12, 2023 v– 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Wisdom 6:6-12 | Psalm 63:2-8
I Thessalonians 4:13-19 | Matthew 25:1-13

+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

As we approach the end of liturgical Year A, our readings from the Book of Wisdom, First Thessalonians, and Matthew invite us to contemplate the importance of our readiness and vigilance as followers of Jesus.

In our Gospel from Matthew, Jesus tells the parable of the ten bridesmaids who were waiting for the bridegroom.  Five of them were wise and had enough extra oil to keep their lamps filled while the other five were foolish and had not brought any extra oil.  When the bridegroom was delayed, the five wise bridesmaids were prepared and ready to greet him, while the five foolish ones had to leave to go buy more oil for their lamps, missing the arrival of the bridegroom.

This parable reminds us of the importance of being prepared for Jesus, both in our daily lives and at our final destination.  The extra oil that the wise bridesmaids brought with them is a symbol of faith and righteousness which we all need to cultivate and nourish constantly.  It reminds us that our journey of faith requires consistent effort, prayer, and spiritual growth. Faith is our active trust in God, a belief in what He says is true.

Sometimes it can be easy for us to fall into complacency or become distracted by the cares and worries of the world.  We may neglect our spiritual lives for example, by not attending church and receiving the Holy Sacraments, thinking that we have plenty of time left in our lives to grow closer to God.  However, just like the five foolish bridesmaids, when the moment of our encounter with the Lord arrives, we might find ourselves unprepared and lacking the necessary “oil” to sustain our faith.

Preparing ourselves for the Lord’s coming is not merely about following religious practices or fulfilling obligations.  It is about nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with God, allowing His grace to transform our hearts, minds, and lives.  It is about living in constant awareness of His presence and love, seeking His guidance and strength each day.

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom speaks of the value of knowledge and wisdom and how it illuminates our path.  It encourages us to seek and embrace wisdom as an essential element of our spiritual preparation.  Wisdom helps us discern the will of God and understand what truly matters in life.  It guides us in making choices that are in harmony with God’s plan.

Proverbs 8 tells us that God wants people to gain understanding and become wise. Wisdom speaks to us personified as a woman.  She speaks about her existence before creation and her gift of a successful life by following wisdom’s call.  “Sophia” is the Greek word for wisdom and is connected to the different incarnations of sacred female knowledge.

The second reading from the First Letter to the Thessalonians reminds us that the end of time or the rapture is coming.  This is a fascinating topic for many, but for us, as followers of Jesus, we should listen to what St. Paul tells us: since we do not know the day or the hour of His coming, we need to live our lives with Jesus now in total confidence that we will be with Him forever.

As we reflect on these readings, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we like the wise bridesmaids, constantly nurturing and growing in our faith?  Or are we more like the foolish ones, neglecting our spiritual lives and taking our relationships with God for granted?

So, let us heed the call to be vigilant and prepared, for we do not know the hour or the day when the Lord will come.  Let us prioritize our spiritual well-being by devoting regular time to prayer, reading Scripture, participating in the Holy Sacraments, and serving others.  Let us cultivate virtues such as love, compassion, forgiveness, and humility, so that we may shine as lights in a darkened world.

Hopefully, the parable of the ten bridesmaids will continue to remind us that our faith is not something to be taken lightly.  It requires our utmost attention, diligence, and commitment.  Let us strive to be like the wise bridesmaids, with our lamps always burning brightly, ready to welcome the bridegroom when He comes.

Let us pray.

May the Lord grant us the grace to live each day in anticipation of His coming; purifying our hearts and minds, and strengthening our faith.  And may His abounding love and mercy guide us all our days until we finally enter His eternal kingdom.