【英汉主日分享】| It is not enough to believe but we have to persevere in faith (32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time)


32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time —Year A

Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF


Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew,

Glory to you, O Lord!

"Then 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.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

HomilyIt is not enough to believe but we have to persevere in faith

When Matthew writes to a despondent community that could not see the second coming of the Lord as they had expected, he repurposes the original story, which Jesus told addressing Israel, to suit to the disappointed Christians. The ten virgins do not indicate Israel anymore but the Church (the bride) that awaits the return of her Lord, her Bridegroom. Thus there is also a logical explanation for the fact that the bride does not appear: the bride is the Christian community, represented by the ten virgins.
"Five of them were foolish and five were wise." A theme dear to Matthew is resumed here. In the Christian community, the good and the evil live together; the wheat and the weeds grow in the same field; the wise and the foolish are side by side. 

The foolish virgins represent the Christians at risk: those who focus their lives on what is transient, those who neglect true values, those who forget the one thing necessary, that which Mary had chosen, being at the Lord's feet and becoming his disciple (Lk 10:38-42).

The vigilant virgins are instead Christians who do not let themselves be seduced by vanity and remain focused on what is important in life. 

The puzzling behavior of the wise virgins show the importance of living well and not just dying a good death. God, it is true, always finds a way to save the person, but in the end everyone will end up with what one did: with a solid and magnificent palace, or with a paper castle, which will not stand the fire of God’s judgment when he "will test the work of everyone" (1 Cor 3:13-17).

The closing of the door indicates the end of every opportunity. Hence the urgent need to establish how to live life well, and the image of the lighted lamp suggests the way. Whoever has made evangelical choices will preserve and keep in their mind and heart the light of faith, even in those moments when trials and difficulties go beyond their expectation. However, the choice of the one who for a while follows the proposals of Christ, but later, for being tired, leans towards other values or interests will be condemned and judged accordingly.
Jesus comes not only at the end of our life. He comes in every moment and wants to find his disciples engaged in service, in the gift of themselves to their brothers and sisters. In their room, their lamp should be always alight as a point of reference and reminder of hope for the poor seeking help, for the outcast and the stranger who ask for love and justice, for the woman who demands respect, for those who are victims of violence and long for peace, for those who did wrong and need understanding and forgiveness.