32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Homily)
We were all together five of us started our Initiation Year in the seminary in 1995. One day one of our lecturers, Rev. Fr. Moses Lui, who was teaching us Salvation History subject, arrived in our class. Without much say he immediately gave us an pop examination without informing us ahead. We were unprepared, unexpected, unanticipated and surprised with this stance of his. We immediately requested to postpone it but he insisted on this and went on with this test. The examination was over and one week later he returned our written test papers. What surprised us, all five of us failed in the test. He warned us that we must always be prepared for exams any time at any moment in the future. This is a lesson for us to always be always prepared, vigilant all the time for other examinations and lessons.
In today’s Gospel (Matt 25: 1-13), Jesus illustrates a parable about the ten bridesmaids. There were five sensible bridesmaids and five foolish ones. The sensible bridesmaids were prepared to meet the bridegroom’s arrival because they “took flask of oil as well their lamps.” whereas the foolish bridesmaids did not prepare and was not ready to meet Him as the “door was shut” to them because “they took no oil with them.” The rejected bridesmaids were left standing outside the door asking for admission. The wise ones are safely inside. The foolish bridesmaids negligence and unprepared, were like how my ex-classmates and I, being negligent and not prepared, as he gave us that first exams.
The parable teaches us that we need to be vigilant, alert, ready and be prepared every moment of our lives. We do not know when the Lord will come as Jesus said, “stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.” God does not delay and if He ever delays, there is a purpose in it. He probably wants to test our patience and our readiness. Hence, we must wait patiently and enthusiastically, with hope and prayer at all times. The mysterious Lord of ours, comes at the most unexpected hours. God has His time and He comes according to His time and season. He comes and makes all things wonderful and beautiful, as in the hymn, “In His time He makes all things beautiful.”
St. Paul invites us in today’s Epistle (1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18) that we must be “alive for the Lord’s coming.” We do not know when He will return. In this shortness of our lives, we must not lose our enthusiasm and attentiveness in preparing ourselves to meet the Lord when He arrives. His return is certain and He will come back to establish His Kingdom.
Let us not fall asleep. The Church is alive and Christ is alive in us. Hence, we must be alive in the Spirit. Let us firm in our faith and let our spirituality be awake with the Holy Spirit as St. Paul says, “the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up…, and throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light,” (Rom 13: 11-12). The day is at hand and the time to prepare for that day is now, as always.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy