CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR FRIDAY OF THE 21ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS!
BY: Fr. Benedict Agbo
HOMILY: * 1 Cor 1 : 17 – 25, Matt 25 : 1 – 13.
Jesus uses some parables of judgment to help us see what the Kingdom of heaven will be like in the final analysis. In yesterday’s gospel he spoke about the faithful and wise servant who is on his duty post feeding God’s household when He comes for account in contrast with the wicked and foolish servant who beats his fellow servants, eats and drinks with the drunk when his master suddenly comes. In today’s gospel, Jesus presents a similar parable of judgment using a more familiar scenario of maidens waiting for the bridegroom in a marriage feast.
Permit me to make the following illustrations using the 7 major characters in the story:
1. The Bridegroom is Jesus.
2. The Spouse is the Church – the entire mystical body of Christ.
3. The Virgins are we in the world ( Church militant).
(a) The Wise Virgins are those who succeed in going into the marriage feast ( Church triumphant).
(b) The Foolish Virgins are those who go to hell finally ( should I call them Church defeated?)
4. The Marriage feast is the Eucharistic celebration which starts on earth ( viaticum / food of pilgrims) and continues in heaven ( beatific vision).
5. Carriers of the lamps with oil are those who utilize God’s grace well especially the Word of God and the Sacraments of the Church. The extra oil will be the good works of charity that we do.
6. Carriers of the lamps without oil are those who are wicked, hypothetical and foolish ; they lack proactive reasoning, they lack vigilance and hardwork ( they slumbered and slept) and live a beggarly life – ‘Give us some of your oil’ is their normal language.
7. The Kingdom of heaven is the marriage feast of the lamb. The wise virgins finally enter there. The delay of the bridegroom is a normal thing so that ample time will be given for the foolish virgins to get ready.
Those are foolish who go about moving and living as though the gospel never existed OR those who depend on the wisdom of this world in understanding the gospel. St Paul explains in today’s 1st reading that the world did not know God through mere philosophical wisdom but theological wisdom. The Jews demand signs and the Greeks seek wisdom but we preach Christ crucified. The Word (message) of the Cross is the power of God for salvation. That is the lamp with oil.The Wise Virgins grow with it but the Foolish Virgins don’t. If we are convinced in the power of the Cross we should start living a proactive sacrificial life of charity and purity immediately without procrastination. We should draw very close to the Word of God – the message of the Cross.
May God bless you today!