Wisdom 6:12-16; Ps 63:2-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matthew 25:1-13
Since it is Veterans Weekend, let us pray for all our veterans, their families and all those placing their lives in danger to keep us safe each day. A Chaplet of Divine Mercy might be helpful.
Dear Holy Spirit, please help us understand these scriptures in the} light that we are almost at the end of our Liturgical year.
Each year in our Liturgies we relive the life of Jesus Christ from beginning to his “return” to heaven at the Ascension. At the Sunday Liturgy, the readings are arranged in a three-year cycle to further open up for us a greater range of Bible texts. This year has been from cycle A readings. At this part of the year, we have been reading from the end of Matthew’s gospel.
Four last things
November is the month we think of the last things of our life: life, death, heaven or hell. We also focus on praying for those Christians, especially our family and friends, who have passed from this life to eternity. We pray that if they have not rejected Jesus, his teachings and his church that they will, if very good here on earth, go directly to heaven with Jesus. If they were not so good, they would have to spend some time being purified so they can get rid of all of the effects of their past sins and then go to heaven.
The readings this weekend are focused on our own preparation for leaving earth when God ends our time here on earth. Most of us don’t think of that when we are younger. When we get older, we begin to realize that our time on earth is getting shorter and our time before we leave earth is getting closer.
Two realms of wisdom
Wisdom can be seen in two realms. In a worldly sense, wisdom will be focused on a good way to live life so we can be more successful and make a lot of money. All of our planning and focus on that will eventually come to an end when God determines our time here is up. So the final question will be, where will we spend eternity if we believe in a life after this life? None of us can live here forever.
Religious wisdom is seeing eternal life and happiness as a reward for living the way God wants us to live here and care for others while we are here. When we seek God’s wisdom about life he will gradually give that to us. This is the theme of the Wisdom reading this weekend.
The wedding image
Matthew’s gospel expands that same idea. Jesus’ parable stories generally are best understood in one main point without reading into the story a lot of details. The wedding image is not the main idea here but the ultimate marriage of God with his chosen people, each of us as an individual.
The custom of marriage in Jesus’ time was that the bride was betrothed to her intended spouse. She continued to live with her parents for a while. At an appointed time, a few months later, the groom would come to claim her. He would lead her and the families to the wedding feast. This would celebrate and inaugurate their new life together.
Test of spiritual wisdom
From this perspective we can understand more what the church wants us to get out of St. Matthew‘s story here. In light of the choices we make about our faith and closeness to Jesus here on earth, we are like the ten virgins. We are either part of the wise ones or the other group. Depending on our closeness to Jesus and how much we try to live out his way of life here will show us whose wisdom we are following. Will we go with Jesus to eternal life and happiness with him forever? Or are we getting confused in life and following other paths not concerned about when Jesus will end our life here on earth?
I am older now and getting closer to my leaving earth. My youngest brother left earth back in July. Our other brother left earth several years ago. I am the “godfather” of our family. It won’t be too many years before I leave earth. Before I travel some distances by car or plane, I go to confession to have my sins are forgiven and I won’t have so long to spend in purgatory. This gives me more spiritual wisdom about how I need to live my daily life and spend some time in prayer.
Psalm 63 today is very enlightening. “O God, You are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, for your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you.”
May the Holy Spirit give us more of his wisdom to put our life in perspective relating to our own eternal happiness in heaven.
Have a blessed wisdom-filled week getting closer to Jesus each day.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2017 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)