for Sunday, November 12, 2017
"Wisdom is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her." As we come to the last Sundays of Ordinary Time, we are invited to seek wisdom and to love wisdom.
The first reading comes from the Book of Wisdom and invites us to reflect this Sunday on wisdom in our daily lives. Wisdom is not a college degree nor does it require us to read books or memorize things. Rather, wisdom is a capacity to live well and to make good decisions about things. Such wisdom is only possible with good judgment coming from experience and everyday knowledge. There are many people with advanced academic degrees who have very little wisdom and there are lots of people with no academic degrees who are true wisdom figures and reflect the wisdom of God.
Each of us can think in his own heart and mind right now about the people that we might ask for advice in our lives. Those people are usually wisdom figures for us. They are people whose practical judgments we would trust and also whose spiritual advice could be helpful. This first reading reminds us that we need to seek wisdom and once we find some wisdom, we must treasure wisdom.
The second reading today is from the First Letter to the Thessalonians. In this section of the letter we are reminded that our whole faith is based on the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If Jesus died and did not rise, then our faith is worth nothing. Jesus Himself tells us that He is the Resurrection. Jesus is clear that our death is only a passing to a new life in a new way, with God the Father, with Jesus Himself and with the Holy Spirit. If we begin to think of our faith as simply good decisions made in the light of the teachings of Jesus, who was an enlightened religious man - then we have no faith at all. Rather we believe that Jesus is fully God and fully man and leads us to the Father. We want to live completely the teachings of Jesus so that we have life eternal - Resurrection.
The Gospel from Matthew today brings us back to wisdom. The parable that Jesus gives to us illustrates the practical nature of wisdom. All ten of the virgins wanted to meet the bridegroom but five of them did not bring enough oil to keep their lamps burning. This is the wisdom aspect! A person who knows about oil lamps will know that extra oil must be taken along if the wait is going to be long. That is simply a practical piece of knowledge. But five of the virgins did not have that wisdom. And so when the bridegroom was delayed, then they ran out of oil.
The whole point of this parable is that we must be ready for the Lord. To be ready for the Lord, we must be willing to wait for the Lord. To wait for the Lord, we must be willing to do all the things that will allow us to be ready as we wait. Probably all of us who are here really want to be with the Lord. Do we live our lives in such a way that we are always ready for Him?
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Wisdom 6.12-16
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
Gospel: Matthew 25.1-13
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: