Homily for the 32nd Sunday of Year A

Readings: Wisdom 6:12-16 p 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – Matthew 25:1-13

Let your light shine:  Today’s Gospel from the 25th chapter of St Matthew is the fifth time Jesus speaks about the ‘the last things.’

When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount [Mt 5] he speaks about letting our light shine so that others will see the good things we do. Hopefully they will be inspired not only to say: look, see how these Christians love one another but also begin to do good things to.

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of what makes light shine: oil! We need to be up and doing good things in order that our light shines. We cannot be like the foolish virgins in the Gospel – needing to borrow ‘goodness’ from others.

Sadly, the foolish virgins weren’t ready when the bridegroom arrived. All of them needed sleep, after all ‘twas late in the evening. But, despite the late hour when the bridegroom arrived, they should have been ready with their oil to trim their lamps. A lesson we can draw from this Gospel is that we need to be alert at all times, ever-ready to meet whatever is the need.

But Jesus is also saying something about the 10 virgins – they didn’t have a common mentality, some were properly-prepared while five weren’t. These five expected that the others would come to their assistance. But this has a deeper meaning: we can’t borrow the good works of others; we can’t expect others to do the good works on our behalf. Each one of us must be up and doing our part. I can’t count how often I hear phrases such as: my wife is the pray-er in our house; she goes to Mass for us all and other such nonsense.

At Baptism, each of us was commissioned to be a light to others, to go out and to bear fruit.

The door of the wedding hall is a symbol of the door into the kingdom, eternal life. All ten virgins had been given the key to the kingdom at baptism. What turns the key is our life on earth. If we’re not practising our Christian life – prayer and actions – our key won’t work. And we might we hear the words the foolish virgins heard: I don’t know you.

As Christians, each of us has a responsibility which we cannot expect others to fulfil on our part. Jesus has called each of us by name; he expects each of us to answer for ourselves.

And so I pray:

Lord God, as this church year draws to a close, may I refresh my lamp with good works and prayer so that my key will turn easily when I hear your call and may it be, ‘come you blessed of my Father, come inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world….

To listen to an alternative Homily for this Sunday, from Fr Tom Casey of the SMA Media Centre, Ndola, Zambia please click on the play button below.

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