Homily Thirty-Second Sunday of Year A: Michael Ufok Udoekpo
· Wis 6:12-16
· Ps 63:2,3-4,5-7
· 1 Thes 4:13-18
· Matt 25:1-13
Christ Is the Source of Our Wisdom and Kingdom Readiness
As we approach the end of the liturgical year it is so fitting that we have the scripture readings of today which provide us the source of kingdom readiness, to stay awake, to be prepared to meet the Lord when he comes. Reaching the heavenly kingdom of God needs preparations, including, through death in Christ, which begins here on earth!
In the Gospel of Matthew today a parable is allegorically presented about ten virgins in light of the kingdom of God. It was a typical village parable familiar to the original Palestinian readers and audience. Five, wise virgins were prepared with oil waiting for the bridegroom, Christ; while the other five, foolish ones were not prepared, and hadn’t enough oil when the master Christ, arrived! Even, though both of them, the ten were asleep when the Lord arrived, at least five were prepared with oil to meet him.
This reminds us of the point Saint Paul is making in the Second reading: “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” (1 Thess 4:13-18).
As we journey through our Christian life with various sacramental preparations in love, charity, forgiveness, show of mercy to others, reaching out to the poor and the oppressed, we must be hopeful as well in the resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and gone before us, mark with the sign of faith, hope and love. For the ultimate preparation for the heavenly kingdom of God, starts here on earth. It includes how we prepare for our deaths. It include how we wisely treat one another, carry out our vows, commitments, covenants, responsibilities in the fear of the Lord and how we minister to those in the margins.
In the parable of the ten virgins, even though the sensible five were asleep, momentarily, yet they were unlike the foolish ones, wisely prepared for the coming of the Lord, with their oil, which were non-transferable, a reminder of personal preparations!
It is this Lady Wisdom, God (hochma, Sophia) of the first reading (Wis 6:12-16, cf. other wisdom books and literature), which Solomon sought in the beginning of his administration (1 Kgs 2-3), that we seek in order to be orderly prepared for the coming of God’s Kingdom. This wisdom is sitting in our gates. It is the breath of God, his spirit, his wind, his pneuma, the Holy Sprit. It is written in our hearts. It is in the 10 commandments. It is in the teachings about the fear of the Lord, the precepts transmitted in the teachings of the Church: modesty, administrative prudence, love, charity, forgiveness, kindness (hesed) misphat (justice), sadeqqah (righteousness) emet (truth), peace (shalom), compassion and inclusiveness that Pope Francis daily encourage us.
May we remain, sharers and partakers of God’ Wisdom as we prepare for our death, and ultimately, the Kingdom of God!
1. In your Christian journeys so far, among which group do you find yourself- the five wise virgins or the five foolish ones?
2. How do you daily and wisely prepare for the Kingdom?
3. And how do you help members of your faith community/work environment, in this endeavor?