Sunday 12 November 2017, 32nd (A)
● Wisdom 6:12-16 ● Psalm 63 ●
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ●● Matthew 25:1-13 ● ●
[__01__] As we approach the end of the year, things get busier for all of us. And, this is the end of our liturgical year in which we are reading the final chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.
The theme of “ending” is present today, next Sunday, and the Sunday after that. This Sunday, it is about
· Next Sunday, the parable of the talents, it is about [RESPONSIBILITY]
· And, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, it is about [REWARD].
[READINESS], [RESPONSIBILITY], [REWARD]
[__02__] This Sunday, the [READINESS] parable is an allegory in which there are symbols by which:
· You and I are represented
· Jesus is represented
· A relationship is represented.
You and I are represented by the ten bridesmaids by whom the bridegroom is being awaited / welcomed.
Jesus is the bridegroom. And, the relationship with Jesus is his arrival.
[__03__] This past Wednesday, I was expecting an arrival of someone to meet, early in the day.
When asked if I were available, I said YES and responded: “do you want to talk on the phone or to meet in person?”
I received the following message in response: “I am on my way. I´ll be there in 19 [nineteen] minutes.”
I thought, “am I meeting you or am I meeting the navigation – direction voice on your phone?”
I hope that I am ready, precisely.
[__04__] Timing. Precision. Preparation.
In the Gospel, Jesus refers to PRECISE elements of our Christian lives.
What is necessary for you and me to be a disciple, to be in a relationship with him?
This precision was expressed in last Sunday’s encounter and explanation regarding the law.
Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”
Not, what is a good commandment, or what are the top 5, but what is the greatest.
We fact, for example, in school – in the classroom – or many types of examinations. There MULTIPLE CHOICES
A, B, C, D. TRUE. FALSE.
And, sometimes it is just one word that make an entire statement TRUE or FALSE.
We are called to be precise, at times, in our answers.
[__05__] Jesus was on the hot seat with the Pharisees last Sunday. He was being asked not what is a good commandment but what is the best and greatest commandment.
[* * * P-A-U-S-E * * *]
And, he has an exact answer that to love the Lord your God with all your whole soul, heart and mind to love your neighbor as yourself is the greatest commandment. (Matthew 23: __)
Jesus has been precise in his relationship with his disciples and with us before.
Do we also value precision?
Sometimes, I lack precision, exactness. And, I use punctuality – or the lack thereof - as an example. Here goes …
[__06__] A few months ago, I went to dinner, to meet at a restaurant for dinner my aunt – my mom’s sister and some other family and friends.
The reservations was at 7:00 pm. I arrived at 6:59 and ½.
And, my aunt said – with full sincerity and zero sarcasm: “Wow, you are so early.”
She knows me and knows that on more than 1 occasion, I have arrived after the appointed time.
In this regard, I would have to associate myself logically with the foolish bridesmaids of the parable.
Why are they foolish?
[__07__] First of all, I would like to rule out – eliminate – some reasons that we might presume contribute to their foolishness. In other words, they are NOT foolish because they lack AWARENESS or because they are CLUELESS or because they are CARELESS.
Hearing the word FOOLISH, we may assume the person has no clue or is completely indifferent to the outcome.
Or, that they do not understand the CAUSE.
The foolish bridesmaids know what the cause or consequence is going to be. They are begging for oil.
Why do I arrive late sometimes?
Because I am PROCRASTINATING. We use “PROCRASTINATION” to explain many things.
If so, what is the cause of my procrastination or the cause of the procrastination of the 5 foolish bridesmaids.
I’ll tell you one of my causes.
The reason I arrive at 6:59 ½ or later for a 7:00 pm appointment is because, at times, I don’t recognize my own importance to the celebration or event.
We all do this.
I figure -- well, they can start without me.
Sometimes, we do not recognize our own value to our families, to our friends, or to the task that we are presented with.
[__08__] The foolish bridesmaids have an additional hindrance or fault. They don’t lack PERCEPTION, but they do make an PRESUMPTION.
They PRESUME to know day and the hour. They PRESUME to know exactly when Jesus, the bridegroom, will arrive.
[__09___] Sometimes, we do the same. We presume to know exactly what we need in FAITH, in FUEL, in FIDELITY, in KINDNESS, in REPENTANCE, to reach the end of life.
I presume that that I do not have to be too kind to certain people in my life. Maybe, I reach a kindness boundary and I will not go beyond this.
I can also resemble the foolish ones, expecting Jesus only at certain times or at a certain time. “He will be here in 19 minutes.”
We may behave the same way.
[__10___] And, I suggest that there are ethical and principled viewpoints that we suggest this type of precision and PRESUMPTION.
This may not necessarily be beyond the control of some of us. But I suggest all of us swim in these waters, breathe this air of what is technology and what certain ethics and technologies can offer us.
And, such an ethical and principled viewpoint suggests that we can choose certain things.
For example, some technologies suggest that you and I are in control of when the clock FALLS BACK, SPRINGS AHEAD, or HOW MUCH DAYLIGHT we have left before the end of time.
This is particularly true when we discuss end-of-life issues or death and dying.
[__11___] Movements about the dignity to die, legalized euthanasia, and the right-to-die suggest – from ideological standpoint that you and I are in control.
From the Catholic and Christian standpoint, yes, of course, we certainly can and should alleviate pain for someone who is physically suffering.
But, the availability of so much data now about the state of the patient – who might be your wife, mother, husband, father, child – suggests that we also are to decide about the length of life.
The Gospel reminds us that we know neither the day nor the hour.
God is in control, precisely.
The wise bridesmaids give us the Good News, a different lesson, that you and I do not know the timing of Jesus’ arrival.
For this reason, they prepare with their own precision to welcome him. Home. He is on His way. [_fin_]