Reflection for 32ndSunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
(Wis 6:12-16; 1Thes 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13)

It is embarrassing to see matured and educated people act foolishly. Man is a rational being, but at times, the animal side of us gets hold of us. Wisdom is acquired, and must be nurtured for it to last. It is often described as a LIGHT, which is found by those who seek her. It is a gift given to those ready to receive it. While wisdom guides our daily life, it carries us to eternal life. The second reading gives insight into death and the afterlife as a way of gaining the wisdom of the heart. The Gospel narrates the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.

The parable reveals the kind of discretion we need to make Heaven. Let us meditate on some of the imageries in the story.

1.    TEN VIRGINS: Virginity is a distinguishing character, which symbolizes purity. Here are those who were found worthy to meet the Lord. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). They all were given equal opportunity to meet the Bridegroom.

2.     LAMPS & OIL:  Lamps shine light in the dark. The journey was at the night. The light from the lamps would come against the darkness of the night. This is how the Children of God live in the dark world and must overcome it. The oil is what keeps the light of the lamp glowing. The light would burn as long as the oil is in it. The ability to use discretion and provide constant oil for the lamp till an undisclosed time separated the wise from the foolish. This oil could be our works of charity, prayers, etc that keep our light shining amid an unrighteous world.

3.     THE BRIDEGROOM: He is the reason for the waiting; He delayed in the eyes of the virgins, but He came at His own right time! He expected the Elects to be ready when He comes and have their lights lit. His ‘delayed time’ was a merciful time for the Virgins to apply wisdom, and get themselves ready for a time they did not know.

It is quite obvious, therefore, that the wise virgins were those who live by faith. In faith, the ‘delayed time’ of the Bridegroom becomes the ‘hour of mercy’ and a gracious time. The wise virgins were already living out their hope of meeting the Bridegroom! They were not waiting in fear and pain but confidence and joy. In other words, wisdom appropriates and brings to our daily life the joy and graciousness of meeting the Bridegroom (Titus 2:13). True wisdom is never selfish; wisdom cannot be according to worldly standards (cf. Prov 26:12, 1Cor 3:18).

Bearing in mind death and our meeting with the Lord Jesus can make one wise. Thus, St Paul explains in the second reading how the dead and the living shall meet the Lord. Jesus who died and is alive becomes the meeting point and passage way from death to life. Therefore, the wise ones, called to meet the Lord, make Jesus the centre of their lives. They plan for the Lord; their store of oil never runs dry as their lamps keep shining even in the darkness of this world. Whoever is ready for the Lord, is ready to face life. He will never be overtaken or taken by surprise. He overcomes all things through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Lagos.
Sunday November 8th, 2020.


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