32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
8th November 2020
Year A – Psalter week 4
As we come to the end of the Church year and Advent draws closer, the focus of the liturgy moves to the end times. Today’s parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids emphasises the need for watchfulness and also for preparation for the Lord’s return.
As with all the parables, the lesson is drawn from everyday life. The Jewish marital custom at the time was that an initial period of betrothal would be followed by the groom leading a procession to bring his new wife to their home, and there would begin a week-long banquet with family and friends. One of the images we find in scripture for heaven is that of a wedding banquet, where the Church is the bride and Jesus is the groom.
In the parable, all the bridesmaids fall asleep while the groom is delayed. The difference between the bridesmaids, then, is that the wise ones brought oil for their lamps while the foolish ones did not. One traditional interpretation is that “awaiting the bridegroom signifies one’s uncertain life-span – no one knows the hour of his death and judgment. The lamp is Christian faith, while the oil represents good works; thus faith without works is useless (James 2:17). Souls must prepare for their personal encounter with Christ (bridegroom) by loving God and neighbour (Matthew 25:35-40; 1 John 3:7), since those lacking good works will be shut out of heaven’s banquet” (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, New Testament, cf. Origin, St. Hilary). As Christians, then, we are to be spiritually prepared for our own death and for the Second Coming of Christ as Judge by living our faith authentically here and now in this life, a faith that must find expression in good works at the service of God’s Kingdom.
With regards to his return in glory, Jesus says: “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). This theme of the Lord’s return is also taken up by St. Paul in today’s second reading when he comforts the Christians at Thessalonica with the following words concerning their brothers and sisters who have died: “We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him.” In this month of November, in particular, we pray for our loved ones who have died, and for those who may have no one to pray for them. While, sadly, we cannot celebrate Mass together at this time, I will nevertheless offer daily Mass for all parishioners past and present, and for your loved ones who have died, praying that the Lord would have mercy upon their souls, and lead them to his heavenly banquet
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming. Alleluia!