November 12, 2017
The 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25, 1-13
When we gather this weekend, we shall begin to listen to the conclusion of the last public discourse of Jesus with the first of three parables that announce the beginning of new times not the end of time. In the two weeks that follow, the final two parables will be put before us. All three concern the second coming (that new time) told by a community that is living in the new time.
Jesus told this parable as a “crises parable”. Like another parable about a sudden downpour of flood that washes away the house built on sand, the story of an unexpected thief, or the sudden return of the master to his stewards, this is a parable intended by Jesus to be a warning against the fate of the foolish virgins. It is carelessness, superficiality, and the neglect of preparations that Jesus addresses. The words of Jesus are still alive for us.
The parable confronts us with a choice. It calls for us to change our minds and the focus of our lives looking toward a new future for creation and those who live in it. It is a future overwhelmingly full of happiness but yet extremely serious. The fact presented by this parable is that it will be possible to miss it even to run away from it or lose it by being un-prepared, by living as though there is always plenty of time or by living as though somehow at the end someone else will pull us through.
The Bridesmaids all had choices for which each was responsible. We have them too. I am sure that five of them had even more excuses. We have excuses too. The risk is that having become accustomed to the waiting, we trade occasional vigilance for an occasional sin or perhaps a nap or just a look the other way. We compromise principles and ourselves not wishing to offend anyone, and thereby pleasing no one.
Only the waiting heart knows the approach of Christ. When we live with the sure expectation that he will come again, we do not mind the vigil of life. We can wait patiently through trials and temptations. In our hearts, we know that the Lord is coming.
Fr. Tom Boyer