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Homily (Reflection) for the Thirty-Second Sunday of the Year (A) (12th November, 2017) on the Gospel

Wis 6:12-16;
Ps 62:2-8 (R. V.2);
1Thess 4:13-18 or 13-14;
Matt 25:1-13.
Topic: Keep awake.
In the gospel according to Luke, someone asked Jesus while teaching on His way to Jerusalem, “Lord, will only a few saved?” Jesus admonished all to strive to enter through the narrow door. He warned that many will try in vain to enter. Once the owner of the house shut the door, those outside will knock and beg in vain. Those outside will include those who ate and drank with Him and those He taught in their streets, cf. Lk 13:22-27; cf. Matt 7:13-14.
And in today’s gospel, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven with ten bridesmaids who went to meet the bridegroom with their lamps. Five wise ones “took flasks of oil with their lamps” whereas the foolish ones took only their lamps. All of them became drowsy and slept when the bridegroom delayed. But there was a shout at midnight, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ When the bridesmaids trimmed their lamps, the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ The wise replied, ‘No! There will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ However, before they could return, those who were ready had entered into the wedding banquet with the bridegroom; and the door was shut. They pleaded unsuccessfully for the door to be opened for them.
We are waiting for the bridegroom (our master) to come when we do not know, cf. Lk 12:36. While waiting for Him, we will fall asleep (die). The only thing that will remain (the oil) is one’s good deeds. Hence the book of Revelation reads, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, for their deeds follow them!” (Rev 14:13).
Hope no one is worried with regard to the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, shutting the door against the foolish forever? We remember that “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103:8; cf. Ps 116:5).
The prophet Isaiah admonished,
Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon (Is 55:6-7).
And the book of Proverbs reads,
Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof....they [you] will call upon me but I will not answer; they [you] will seek me diligently, but will not find me (Prov 1:24-25.28).
There is time for everything. Saint Paul rightly admonished, “...now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2Cor 6:2; cf. Is 49:8). Jesus concluded today’s gospel with this warning, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matt 25:13).
Let us conclude with this story in Gerald Fuller’s book, Stories for all seasons,
I learned my first lesson in responsibility the day I returned from school to find my guinea pigs missing. I rushed to ask my mother about them.
“I gave them away because you didn’t take care of them.”
“But I did take care of them!”
“Joni, I gave them away ten days ago!”[1]
Dear friends, this is the time. Come back to God who is patiently waiting with outstretched hands. If you ignore Him today, it may be too late tomorrow.
Bible Reading: Is 55:1-13; Prov 1:20-33; Lk 13:22-30.
Thought for today: Keep awake...you know neither the day nor the hour (Matt 25:13).
Let us pray: God, our Father, assist us in our struggle to be ever ready for you – Amen.
You are free to share this reflection with others if you consider it worthy.

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[1] Fuller, G. (2010). Stories for all seasons. Mumbai: St Pauls, pp. 50-51.

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