This past Wednesday morning, I concelebrated the 8:00 AM mass with Fr. Mike. He began his homily by asking “How many stayed up all night watching the election returns?” As expected, no one raised their hands. In my mind, I connected that response to Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel. It also connected with our first and second readings.
Wisdom is God’s gift. It is the first in the listing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we prayed for with our young people who have just received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I hope that everyone here prayed for our young people these past several weeks.
Wisdom is that gift that enables us to probe deeply into the mystery that we call “God.” It is the gift that enabled St. Paul to move beyond his thinking in today’s passage from his first letter to the people of Thessalonica. No matter where it is situated in the Bible, it is chronologically the first book of the New Testament. It was written about the year 50 and many Christians believed that Jesus would return in triumph very soon. So a common question was whether it was better to be alive or dead when Jesus returned.
As the years went by and Jesus did not return, this early question became less important. But it is from this text that some Evangelical fundamentalists still hold onto the idea of the “rapture.”
Now, almost 2000 years later, I don’t think that many Catholics imagine that Jesus is going to return soon. I know I don’t think so. On the other hand, I know that I am not going to live forever. That’s where wisdom can help me to understand Jesus's parable. It is really all about being ready to meet our Maker and being prepared to enter the eternal wedding feast.
Let us be clear, this parable is not about sharing or not sharing. It is not about the wise virgins being selfish. The parable has only one point: Be prepared! Be ready when you are called! Don’t find yourself shut out!
The fall season is conducive to helping our reflections. Nature is preparing for winter sleep. Leaves are falling from the trees. The last gasp of summer is the beautiful color of foliage ready to die.
I don’t want to be maudlin about this. But the Church has chosen the month of November, to remind us of the cycle of life and that death and judgment await us all.
After the judgment comes the banquet, the banquet we all anticipate when we share in the Eucharist of Jesus, our Lord. The mercy of God is beyond measure. Forgiveness of seventy times seven times is only the beginning of God’s mercy.
I will end these reflections with a saying that I found in the wrapping of a Dove chocolate. “In the end, all will be well; if now is not well, it is not the end