Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Wis 6:12-16; 1 Thes 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13

11-12-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: I’ll always remember that first Easter after my Dad passed away. It was when the promise of the resurrection truly hit home. Sure, I had always believed in heaven and that everyone had the possibility of spending eternity there, but until my Dad died, it had all been theoretical. Now, it was personal. Someone I loved deeply had left this world, but because of Christ’s sacrifice, he had the opportunity to go to paradise, someplace where we will hopefully be reunited someday. I believe that’s what St. Paul is talking about in today’s second reading. We do “not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” We have hope! We have hope for our family, for our friends – for our very selves! – that we will rise again and spend eternity with the Lord and with those we love. Paul writes elsewhere, “Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55) The sting of death is sin, Paul says, but Christ has won the victory over it. In being baptized into Christ, we share in that victory, and we are inheritors of the promise of eternal life that comes from death’s defeat.

GO: The parable in today’s Gospel is a reminder that while Christ has opened the gates of heaven for us, we must be ready to accept that gift and walk through them. In the parable of the ten virgins, we see how all fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. When he did show up, five were ready with oil for their lamps while five were sent scurrying to buy some. As a result, those who were not ready missed the opening of the doors and were locked out of the wedding feast. “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour," Jesus admonishes us. Are you awake? Will you be ready to enter the wedding feast when the door is opened to you? There is nothing wrong with enjoying God’s creation and gifts here on earth, but we must guard against getting so caught up in the things of this world that we forget to prepare for the next.

PRAY: The ten virgins needed oil for their lamps to be ready for the bridegroom, but we need a clean heart and a steadfast spirit, as Psalm 51 tells us. (12) We get that by setting aside regular time for prayer and making a point to regularly receive the sacraments, including the reception of the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist and his forgiveness within the sacrament of reconciliation. Making time for the Lord now will mean we are ready for his return later.