Fr. Mike’s Daily homily for Tuesday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Parable of 10 virgins



Fr. Mike’s Daily homily for Tuesday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: You must be ready

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Tuesday October 19 2021

Tuesday – Week 29
October 19, 2021
Lk 12:35-38

Jesus said to His disciples: “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”

“Gird your loins and light your lamps.” This is a call to readiness. It is easy to understand the instruction to light one’s lamp. But girding one’s loin may sound strange to people of today. In ancient times, people generally do not wear pants since these were considered signs of barbarism. Instead both men and women wore tunics – a loose garment made of light material reaching below the knees. They are customarily secured by a belt or girdle. Although tunics were light and comfortable, they would often interfere in the movement of the person. So when working, playing or fighting, the men would lift up the hem of their tunic and tuck it into their belt or tie it in a knot to provide more freedom of movement. This makes them look like wearing a pair of short pants. Thus, telling someone to “gird up their loins” was to tell them to get ready for action that is difficult or challenging, such as hard work or battle.

The exhortation of Jesus today may remind us of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew’s gospel. The virgins were waiting for the bridegroom to enter the wedding feast. In the case of the Gospel today, the master is already coming home from the wedding. The servants must be ready, with their tunics tucked in their belts and lamps burning brightly so that they can promptly open the door for their master and act quickly on whatever he commands.

This instruction highlights two things: the certainty of the arrival of the master, and the uncertainty of the exact moment. The master will surely come, but nobody knows at what time he will arrive. Hence, the need to be ready at all times. To be caught unprepared by the master would be a big offense which deserves serious punishment.

On the other hand, if the master finds the servants awake and ready, there is a surprising reward for them: “He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” In other words, it is now the master serving the servants! That would be such an eternally wonderful experience for the servants.

This image is already a preview of what would take place at the Last Supper. Jesus bent down and washed the feet of His disciples: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45).

We are the servants who are waiting for the Master’s return at the end of time when He will come as Judge of the living and the dead. This event is absolutely certain. But nobody knows the exact day and time. Hence the need to be ready and prepared. This need for readiness is not a reason to be anxious nor a reason to be afraid.

The words of the Lord give us a hint on the preparation that we need to do: “Gird your loins and light your lamps.” The first part means readiness for action; the second part means active witnessing, so that our light constantly shines brightly before men.

The operative words here are ‘actively’ and ‘constantly’. In other words, waiting for the Lord’s coming should not be passive, as in the case of passengers waiting for the bus to arrive. Instead, it should be ‘active waiting.’ Henri Nouwen wrote: “Active waiting implies being fully present to the moment with the conviction that something is happening where we are and that we want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, believing that this moment is the moment.”

In other words, ‘active waiting’ is when we take a better attitude and outlook, and cultivate good habits in our daily lives. In short, it simply means always doing what we ought to do, doing the right thing at all times, fully aware that God is always with us. This is called ‘integrity and unity of lifeʹ. This is the readiness that is required of us, the best way to prepare for the coming of the Eternal Master.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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