32ND SUNDAY HOMILY IN ORDINARY TIME, YR A
THEME: THE PARABLE OF TEN VIRGINS
By: Fr. Jude Nnadi
Wisdom 6: 12-16; 1Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
My sisters and brothers in Christ, few days after the Commemoration of the faithful departed, the parable of the ten virgins reminds us that we too are on our way, all of us, towards the groom who comes. The journey in our liturgy today is made in the dark, this is important for no one reaches that wedding hall with the groom without the light of faith.
In our parable today, ten virgins set out at night to arrive in time for their groom’s wedding. Five, do not provide themselves with sufficient oil and their lamps extinguished. The wise ones who had enough oil did not share with them. Only these, the wise, have enough oil to welcome the groom”. Wisdom consists in their foresight, in knowing how to carry sufficient oil so that their lamps do not go out. This is how it is in the life of every Christian. If Christians do not want to remain in the dark side of this earthly journey, they must continuously stock up on everything that fuels the lamp of their Baptism, that light of faith which must not go out amidst a thousand difficulties of life. Hence, the need for active listening to the Word of God, frequent prayer, and the “bread of life”, the Holy Eucharist.
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We observe that in our parable today, the one attitude that unites the wise virgins with the foolish is the “dozing off”. “They all became drowsy and fell asleep”. There is no difference, both were overcome by sleep and tiredness. It happens in life that we succumb to weakness, not only in the physical but spiritual sense. In our everyday fight against evil, wrong desire, and concupiscence, against situations that undermine our faith, we can be tempted to doze off, to throw in the towel. It is not easy to always remain awake and faithful, always standing without ever falling. The Lord himself asks and continues to repeat: “He who is without sin, cast the first stone”. Upon awakening, however, the situation of the ten virgins is very different. Five have their lamps still lit, the others do not. This is the difference: their faith had run out. In their sleep, amidst life’s challenges and difficulties, they no longer find either the light or the strength to carry on. They will be late for the wedding: the door will be closed, and “I don’t know you”, those terrible words of rejection rare in the pages of the Gospel, will come as a response to their desperate quests to enter the wedding feast.
Inside that closed door, the wedding banquet is celebrated, a symbol of joy, intimacy and communion, a sign of the messianic salvation in Christ, offered to the faithful, the poor and the righteous. Behind it is the face of Christ transformed from that of a groom into that of a judge. God is merciful but also just. He helps each arrive in time for the wedding feast, but he also asks for their cooperation. No one can presume to remain idle or inert, “that God who created me without me, will save me without me.” There are no automatic mechanisms for salvation, our free collaboration with God through active faith is always necessary. HAPPY SUNDAY!!!
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