Reflection for 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Wisdom 6:12-16
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 OR 4:13-14
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
In the gospels, Jesus provides us with many insights about the Kingdom of God. Today, we hear Jesus say: “The kingdom of heaven will be like…” Recall the other parables that begin in the gospel of Matthew (total of seven) in the same manner: wheat and weeds, sower, a mustard seed, the yeast, a treasure and a pearl. Jesus tries to get us to understand the idea of the kingdom of heaven. We know from experience, that his kingdom is not an earthly kingdom, but in our hearts, in our community and in our world.
The church is not the kingdom, but both a sign and instrument of the kingdom. The church points us to the kingdom and provides us a way to reach the fullness of that kingdom in eternal life. We pray in the Lord’s prayer: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done”. We know when the will of God is done on earth, as it is done in heaven, then the fullness of the kingdom in our world will be realized. Just listening to the news, radio or TV, or reading the newspaper or internet news, sometimes it seems that the kingdom of God is very far from reigning on earth as it does in heaven.
Our responsibility is to proclaim the kingdom, just as Jesus did, the apostles and all generations for the past two thousand years.
Let us turn to today’s parable in the gospel. Think of the lamps that the virgins took as our mind and the oil is like the action of the Holy Spirit. In our mind, we choose or not to cooperate with the work of the Lord, the proclamation of the kingdom with our lives. When we are full of the Holy Spirit, we have the light of Jesus Christ helping us to make moral decisions, in accordance with the love of God – just as a lamp burns brightly with a full vessel of oil. On the contrary, when our minds are clouded by earthly things, we become like the foolish virgins whose lamps were going out – and we risk being locked out of the banquet. The choice is always ours.
Through prayer, frequent reception of the Eucharist and Confession, and our service to our neighbor, we ensure that our lamp will always be burning brightly with the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives!
May God bless us all always!