32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Psalm 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 (2b)
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
November 8, 2020
Everyone is looking for happiness. We find lasting happiness, we find joy, when we find fulfillment. What is it that fulfills us?
In our psalm response today we said, “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”
Yes, our soul thirsts for God. Our flesh pines for God. It is God whom we seek.
We are created in the image of God. We are created to know God. It is embedded in us. While earthly things can make us happy in the immediate moment (some earthly things are even necessary in this world), we do not find the joy we seek in earthly things. With this in mind, our opening prayer asks God to keep us “unhindered in mind and body alike”, set free from undo attachment to earthly things.
It is God we seek.
We are approaching the end of our liturgical year. In three weeks, we will begin Advent, marking a new year in the church.
As we approach the end of this year, our readings speak of the end times. In the second reading, Paul addresses the Thessalonians concerning those who die before the Second Coming of Jesus. He assures them that those who die before that “will rise first.” They look forward to the Second Coming not in fear but with joy, joy that comes from knowing God and looking forward to being with God.
Today’s gospel passage is the Parable of the Ten Virgins who wait for the coming of the bridegroom. The bridegroom symbolizes Jesus. His bride is the Church.
They waited with anticipation for the bridegroom. Do we eagerly await the coming of Jesus?
They carried their lamps with them. In Baptism, we receive the Light of Christ. Do we let the Light of Christ burn brightly within us?
The ten virgins did not know when the bridegroom would arrive. Did they come fully prepared to wait?
The five who were wise did. They brought extra oil with them. The five who were foolish did not. As the bridegroom draws near, their oil runs out. They have to go to get more. When they return, they find the door locked and are unable to enter.
So it will be with those who are not ready when Jesus comes. God gives us a long time to prepare but, when the time comes, we must be ready.
What is required for us to be ready?
We need to know the Lord. Knowing the Lord is more than just knowing that He exists. It is more than just coming to church once in a while. To know the Lord involves all our mind, body, and soul.
To be ready requires perseverance. We cannot let our guard done. Look at what is going on with the Coronavirus. The number of cases is on the rise. Contact tracing suggests part of the reason for the increase is “pandemic fatigue.” People are getting tired of social distancing and wearing facemasks. So, they are not doing it. This is leading to more cases of the virus. We need to persevere.
We need to persevere in waiting for Jesus. As the waiting continues, we may let our guard down. That can lead to sin. Sin keeps us from Heaven. Of course, we thank God for sending Jesus to save us from our sins but we should not take his forgiveness for granted. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us persevere, to help us be in it for the long haul.
One of the ways in which God helps us persevere is in the Mass. He gives us grace in the sacraments. God also comes to us when we pray at other times. This is how we come to know God.
To persevere in following the Lord, to know the Lord, also requires Wisdom. This “wisdom” is not mere human knowledge. It involves human knowledge but it is more than that. Think of how knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are three distinct gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need all three.
The Book of Wisdom speaks of “Wisdom” personified as a lady. Lady Wisdom is described as “resplendent and unfading.” “She is readily perceived by those who love her.”
Do we love Wisdom? To love Wisdom is not simply to seek knowledge. Loving Wisdom is to embrace the Wisdom as part of who we are.
Let us keep vigil for Wisdom and for the Lord. As we seek Wisdom, may we find it, and persevere as we eagerly await the coming of Jesus.