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11/12/17 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Reggie

Wisdom is personified in today’s First Reading, which is one way that the Old Testament has of speaking about God: personified Wisdom.

In this reading, Wisdom is given two key characteristics. First she is someone eager to bring her gifts to us. But second, at the same time, Wisdom depends on our being eager to receive them.  This is because our relationship with God is a kind of friendship; it is based on freedom and love.  He won’t force himself on us; he respects us too much.  He wants our love and our friendship, not our slavery.  So he invites, but has to leave it up to us to respond.   “Wisdom hastens to make herself known…” the First Reading tells us, but “whoever watches for her… shall not be disappointed”.   The right attitude of our hearts in relation to God, then, is active searching, which results from cultivating a deep desire for God. This is what today’s Psalm is all about: “My soul is thirsting for you.”

And this ties in to today’s Gospel passage. The foolish virgins didn’t prepare themselves adequately for the wedding feast. They didn’t take it seriously.   They were careless and superficial in their relationship with the bridegroom, not eager, intelligent and active in their pursuit of wisdom.  It’s as if they called themselves Christians and it appeared on the outside that they were, but it was just appearances.

Their lamps were empty; they did not lead deep lives of prayer; they did not love Jesus Christ in their hearts; they did not truly seek the Lord.

A man was once in financial trouble.  He could barely support himself and his family.  Then he got an idea.  He would go back to Church and ask for God’s help.  He was a little nervous at first, but he finally made it through the doors.  He knelt down in the back pew and prayed: “God, if you’re up there, please help me win the lottery so I can support my family.”  He came back day after day and made the same prayer.  But nothing seemed to happen.  Weeks passed, then months.  Finally, on a Friday, he was making his regular visit and praying his regular prayer: “God, if you’re up there, please help me win the lottery.”  And much to his astonishment, the ceiling opened and a thunderous voice from heaven answered him: “OK, fine. But will you at least please buy a ticket?!”  

How often we are like that!  

We want all that God promises he will give us, but we refuse to do our part; we are too lazy or fearful to take the little risk of learning to pray, or going to confession, or studying the faith with as much interest as we study the sports page.

What is God asking us do right now?  

Has he put something on your conscience recently?  Is there a relationship that you need to fix, or perhaps to finish?   Is there someone you need to forgive?   Do you merely need to renew your commitment to the ABCs of being a Catholic: daily prayer, regular communion and confession, supporting the Church, a reasonable ongoing effort to know what the Church teaches?  

God doesn’t want our lamps to run out of oil.  He wants his light to keep shining in our hearts, for our own benefit, and for the benefit of those around us, now and forever.   But he won’t force us to fill up that lamp and keep it filled.   Today, as he comes again to offer himself to us and for us in the Eucharist, let’s tell him that we will do our part, whatever it may be.  Let’s make that promise today, and then during this week, let’s keep it. It’s the wise thing to do, and no one really wants to be a fool.



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