32 Sunday Ordinary Time Year A
It’s been a long hard road to get to where we are today, nearly a week after the election and we are still realign from it. And still have a ways to go. To get myself to come back to some sense of sanity and serenity, I have gone back to doing some more spiritual reading and finding new insight, comfort, and reconciliation. We are a church and a nation that has been torn apart. We need to get back to finding the values and principles that are at the basics of our faith and the foundation on which this country was founded.
I have been reading this book entitled, LISTENING FOR GOD IN EVERYDAY LIFE, by Joseph D White, PhD. I want to share a couple of thoughts from his chapter entitled, “God Speaks to Us through Children.” We have often heard the phrase, “out of the mouths of babies come words of wisdom.” He was working at a summer camp for small children and was pondering what he was going to be s a grown-up?” This little 4 year, Alexandra come or to him, she smiled and said,” Know who will take care of you? God will .” We adults make lifeso complicated, children speak from their heart in their innocence comes words of wisdom.
Our first reading today is from the book of Wisdom 6:12-16. “Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her.” The Book of Wisdom comes mostly to us from our Jewish roots. A book written with practicality for daily living situations. Based on real life situations that have proven to be true over tome.
And from our Psalm 63:2, 3-4,5-6…”Oh God, you are my God whom I seek;…my flesh pines, my soul thirsts life the earth, parched, lifeless and without water…” The Psalms at beautiful expressions of our longings, our feelings that address our ups and downs in life that give us comfort in times of sorrow, bring joy and gladness. That give strength to carry on another day; and help to remind us that God is always on our side and will not abandon us.”
Another story from Dr. White’s book tells the part of the Christmas story where the poor shepherds and the rich Wise Men, to whom the Christ child is first revealed. He asked the children, “Why did God lead both the shepherds and the Magi to the place where Jesus was born? This was said to a 2nd grade class; not really expecting them to be able to answer it, he was very surprised with little Emily’s answer, “Yes, she said, God wanted the richwise men and the poor shepherds to come because Jesus was for everybody, not just people who were rich or important. He especially wanted to tell the people who were poor not to lose hope, because Jesus was coming for them. God’s best gift was for everyone.” This caused me to stop and ponder for some time…
OUR gospel from Matthew 24:432, 44 describes for us the dualistic world of that time and still the one we live in today. Parables of Right and Wrong; Good and Evil, judgement and forgiveness of being prepared for the un scene or living a life of whimsical and frivolous wandering and expecting that others should take care of us. This gospel was one being prepared, don’t live frivolously because you could get caught and left short and not enter into the wedding feast. ALL are invited, Jesus in the groom and all are invited to sit around his table. But many are foolish, like some of virgins who did not prepare properly for the time of the grooms coming which was to be uncertain. While the others did prepare by bringing along enough oil for their lamps to be ready whenever the bridegroom would arrive.
Jesus spoke often in parables, stories that had a hidden truth in them. In this case the hidden truth is that we don’t know when Jesus’ second coming will be. He even said, “no one knows except the Father.” Hence, we must always be ready; our Jewish brothers and sisters who stand ready with staff in hand as they eat waiting for the Passover of the LAMB.
Which raised the question for us today, how are we going to face the pressing problem that is staring us in the face, we are a broken people who have lost our way; we see more differences between us than similarities that keep us clinging onto our beliefs believing that I‘m right and you are wrong.. which leads us all into a pool of uncertainty and loss of keeping our eyes fixed on God who is the one who gives us the plan to reach our salvation. The more time we spend on bickering and set up walls that divide us instead of building bridges to meet in the middle, we will never come to a place of deeper understanding of Jesus’ message to “Love one another as he loves us.”
Which leads me to the conclusion of todays gospel parable…five virgins were wise and prepared, while five virgins where unprepared, knowing that none of them knew when the bridegroom would arrive. We must ways be prepared for the unexpected, we ask ourselves daily, “Am I prepared to meet God at any given moment or do I continue in my persistence of narrow mindedness where we focus more on ourself, grabbing up all that we can get from life that so often leaves our poor sisters and brothers out in the cold.
Once the five virgins returned with their oil, they wanted to come in to the banquet, the door was locked and they were not allowed to enter. Doesn’t this seem to be rather cold and unfeeling? No not really, what this means is clear, those who cry Lord, Lord let us in you know us, will be shut out because quite clearly St. Paul teaches us, “words without actions are nothing more than a clanging symbol,” just noise that makes no sense.
Let us learn a lesson of our time; first, we have more in common than not, let us search out the truth that is in each of us, be open minded, discuss calmly our differences and work toward common solutions that will work best for all of us. Second, let us be open to learning from each other recognizing that we all have part of the truth; and third, recognizing that each and everyone of us is a beloved child of God created in His image and likeness; th we must work together for the goal that Jesus Christ has given to us; to build his kingdom of justice, peace and love; knowing there can be no love and peace with out justice.
In the word of the great minister, orator Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “ the ark of justice is long but always bends toward justice, truth and right.” Let us take in up ourselves to rebuild this parish, our church our nation into a home were all are welcome, the poor, the wayward, the marginalized, the throw always, the left behind to build back better with a deeper understanding and longing with each other to find peace in our hearts to be shared among all who are ready to take up the cross that Jesus carried for us, that has forgiven our wrong doings and has invited us to live as one people, His people a community where all are welcome at the banquet of the wedding feast. AMEN
Father Dennis Rausch