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Saturday, 5 November 2011

32ND SUNDAY OF THE YEAR A: READINGS AND REFLECTION

First Reading
Wis 6:12-16
Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her.
She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire;
Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed,
for he shall find her sitting by his gate.
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil

shall quickly be free from care;
because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her,
and graciously appears to them in the ways,
and meets them with all solicitude.

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
R. (2b) My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
 
O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.
I will remember you upon my couch,
and through the night-watches I will meditate on you:
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
R. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Second Reading

1 Thes 4:13-18
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,
about those who have fallen asleep,
so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose,
so too will God, through Jesus,
bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive,
who are left until the coming of the Lord,
will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command,
with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God,
will come down from heaven,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left,
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Gospel
Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."


REFLECTION ON THE READINGS OF THE 32ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A)

As the liturgical year draws to an end, the Church in her wisdom also brings to our mind the eschatological character of our earthly existence. St. Augustine in his Confessions says “O Lord our souls are made for You and they are restless until they rest in You”. This means that our Souls are meant to rest with God in heaven.

The journey towards heaven is a long and difficult task. That is why the readings present us with vehicles for our faith-filled journey to heaven. In the first reading (Wis. 6:12-16), we are presented with the first vehicle for our journey to eternity – wisdom. The bible says “wisdom knows what is pleasing in the sight of God” (cf. Wisdom 9:9). Wisdom is not just the knowledge of what is pleasing to God but the choice of what is pleasing to God. That is why this first reading advices us to earnestly seek this wisdom which is attainable by all who desire and zealously seek it. Wisdom will enable us to avoid sin, do those things that will please God and gather the materials for our heavenly journey.

The second reading (1 Thess. 4:13-18) presents another important vehicle for our heavenly journey. While wisdom is useful only in this world, this second vehicle (death) is used to cross over to the next world. Death is presented not as a disadvantage but as an advantage. For us to truly experience the beatific vision, we must die. We must die to sin and physically, we must die to put off the earthly garment – flesh and put on the heavenly garment – a life in the Spirit. Thus, we are advised that what matters is not when one dies but one’s condition at death, not how long but how well. When we die in Christ, there is hope for resurrection in the Spirit.

In the gospel reading (Mt. 25:1-13), we are informed of the fuel to power the two vehicles for our heavenly journey as we saw in the first and second readings. Perhaps, the five foolish virgins missed the first vehicle – wisdom, otherwise they would have been better prepared. The gospel says the virgins became drowsy and slept (death) but at the middle of the night, their lamps were required to remain shining before they could enter the door to meet with the bridegroom whose wedding feast they wanted to attend. What a pity that they couldn’t accomplish this for lack of wisdom, hence, they are called foolish virgins. The Scriptures continue to remind us that our bodily countenance alone can never lead us to heaven. After the countenance what next? Yes they were virgins but without wisdom. The fruit of this virginity remains futile. You need wisdom as well as purity of body to see God.

This is the time to gather more than enough oil. Wisdom will help you to gather this oil which includes your Eucharistic and prayer life, relationship with one another, love, sacrifice, charity, obedience, chastity and practice of other virtues. This is to ensure that when we pick the other vehicle at death, these virtues will serve as the oil to keep our lamps (souls) burning and as fuel to power the vehicle throughout the darkness of the underworld until we reach the light of the beatific vision. 

Have you gathered enough oil for your journey or are you still waiting? Remember, this oil is not transferable. Begin now to plan for your journey to eternity and start gathering the materials now.

-          Uwakwe Chibuike MFC

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:10 am

    You are beginning a good job. Keep it up

    ReplyDelete

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