HOMILY: 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
By: Fr Cyril CCE
Life is far bigger than our individual perspectives and orientations. To truly succeed in life, and indeed to successfully progress towards eternity with our Creator God, there is always the need to look beyond our individual perspectives and orientations, and to create the necessary space in all we do to contain the manifestations of the uncertainties of our existence that are outside, and sometimes beyond, our control. To recognise this fact and to work with it is a great sign of wisdom and the starting point of success. “Lord, let Your wisdom be with us to help us and to work with us”; Amen.
The ability to create room for unforeseen circumstances and for uncertainties is a great sign of humility and of sincere preparedness. It not only affirms the truth of one’s humble acceptance that everything does not depend on him or her, but it also portrays docility of mind and openness to God. It is impossible to claim to be open to God without creating room for Him to be God in whichever way He chooses, because “our God is in heaven; He does whatever He wills” (Ps 115:3). This most important disposition is the essential distinction between the five wise virgins and the other five designated as foolish in the Gospel Reading of today (Mt 25:1-13). The wisdom of the first five virgins is found in their preparation for the unforeseen and for the uncertainties of life as they went out to meet the bridegroom. This is represented in the extra oil they took as they left; “the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps.” The other five, on the contrary, were closed to reality. They only understood life within the limits of their plans and aspirations. They closed their eyes to the ‘indefinite element’ that they set out, though they “did take their lamps, but they brought no oil.” This became their greatest undoing as they got the greatest shock of their lives from the bridegroom they had expected all night long; “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” Consciousness of the unforeseen and of the uncertainties of life keeps us watchful. This is not different with the Christian Life. In fact, watchfulness is an essential Christian disposition as we await the coming of the Lord “because we do not know either the day or the hour.” It takes wisdom to recognise this fact and to stay tuned to it.
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Wisdom is not just a concept or an ideological category. Wisdom is also something very concrete and real; something very practical. Those who are wise are known from their choices and actions. This was the case with King Solomon and this was also the case with the wise virgins. Beyond these, wisdom is divine, made most accessible in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the wisdom of God” (I Cor 1:23) made flesh. Wisdom is also a gracious gift from above; given by the Spirit of God to those who search for it with a sincere heart. In the words of the First Reading (Wisdom 6:12-16), “Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is readily seen, and found by those who look for her.” As Christians, through our reception of the Sacraments, especially of the Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, but particularly the Sacrament of Confirmation, we are imbued with the wisdom to recognise our limits and to see the great expanse of God’s promises and plans. God’s plans are always superior and it takes the wise man or woman to create room for the manifestation of God’s plan, irrespective of the beauty or the prospects of our individual plans. This was the distinguishing quality of the five wise virgins. Also, filled with wisdom, we entertain and delight most in the hope we share as sons and daughters of God; the hope that “we shall stay with the Lord forever” (I Thess 4:13-18). The very aim of the wisdom that God offers us is to lead us to the realisation of this hope. Ours is to say yes to the wisdom of God! Ours is to be open to the wisdom from above! Ours is to allow ourselves to be led by the illumination from wisdom!
Eternal Wisdom from above, make us always docile to the sound of Your voice and faithful to the path that You thread, that in our watchful waiting for Your solemn arrival, the oil of our lives may never go off and the door to Your Eternal Banquet may never be closed against us; Amen. Happy Sunday;
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