Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
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. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
This Sunday the Lord invites us to reflect on wisdom. Wisdom is not just an intellectual knowledge or understanding of something. Wisdom is a knowledge that helps us live well; it is a practical knowledge of what to do in situations so that life comes out right and well.
The Book of Wisdom tells us that we must love and seek wisdom if we are ever going to live in wisdom. It seems that we must sort of step back in our lives from time to time and reflect on how we and others actually live. Only as we reflect can we come to understand clearly that some ways of living bring peace and happiness and a deep awareness of God. Other ways of living bring perhaps a fleeting happiness, but not the happiness of wisdom. Such a way of living might bring peace for a moment, but will not be able to sustain peace.
One of the aspects of wisdom is that we should learn from our mistakes. If the same person is making the same mistake over and over and over, something really is not right. Wisdom does not imply that we will never make mistakes but it does insist that we learn from our mistakes as well as from the things that turn out right.
The First Letter to the Thessalonians tells us about the end times that are coming. There is so much written on the rapture at the end of time, so much written about what will happen when the world ends—we should not be surprised. This topic is fascinating for lots of people. For us who follow the Lord Jesus, however, we should simply follow the example of Saint Paul and that of our Lord Himself: we don’t know the day or the hour and we do not know how it will all happen. We should not get caught up in trying to find the day and the hour, but should live now in Christ with total confidence that we will be with Him forever. This being with the Lord forever is the consolation and the incredible gift of life eternal.
Saint Matthew’s Gospel today has the story of the wise and the foolish. The wise come prepared and the foolish don’t think ahead. We are invited to reflect on this story and gain wisdom from it. At least part of the wisdom to be gained is that we can die at any moment and we should be ready to meet the Lord right now if this is when He calls us. Probably it is not going to happen right now, but it could. This Gospel is not trying to scare us, but simply reminding us that this life is not all that there is. There is another life and it is for that life that we live this life. God wants us freely to choose Him and that is why He has created us. We can choose against Him. Or we can just choose to ignore Him, which is probably more common today.
Our spiritual lesson of today is this: choose now! Do you believe? Then choose to live like a believer! Do you accept Christ as the Redeemer? If you do, follow His word.