• Rev. Lawrence E. Polansky

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

“Behold, the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!”

Entrance Antiphon: Ps 88(87):3 – “Let my prayer come into Your presence. Incline Your ear to my cry for help, O Lord.”

First Reading: Wis 6:12-16 “Wisdom is found by those who seek her.”

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 “My soul is thirsting for You, O Lord my God.”

Second Reading: 1 Thes 4:13-18 “God, through Jesus, will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep.”

Alleluia: Mt 24:42a, 44 “Alleluia, alleluia. Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Alleluia, alleluia.”

Gospel: Mt 25:1-13 “Behold, the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!”

Communion Antiphon: Ps 23(22):1-2 “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose, near restful waters He leads me.”

Thousands of pilgrims filled Saint Peter’s Square on April 9, 2014. Pope Francis commenced a series of teachings on the Holy Spirit, starting with the Holy Spirit and the gift of wisdom. Surrounded by Church officials and television cameras, the Pope began his address rather pensively, pacing through his prepared text as the audience silently nodded along to his theological sketch.

Then rather abruptly he departed from the text, looked up, and in Francis’ fashion lobbed a question at the crowd. The question sounded something like this: “Imagine a mother running around after her children all day, attending to their every need. Eventually the mother gets tired, loses her patience, and starts scolding her child. Is that wisdom?”

The crowd seemed caught off guard by the question. Hardly any response could be heard. With even more gusto, the Pope doubled down on the question: “Scolding children – I ask you – is this wisdom? What do you say: Is this wisdom or not?”

Wasting no time, he shot back with his own answer: “No!” Francis then contrasted wisdom with scolding. Wisdom happens when a tired mother takes her child gently aside, addressing the child patiently and lovingly. That is what the wisdom of God looks like. During this teaching Pope Francis offered the Church a definition of wisdom that today we hear unfolding in our Scriptures. He said: “Wisdom is precisely this: It is the grace of being able to see everything with the eyes of God. This is wisdom.”

Today we are invited to grow in wisdom: 1) to see God as God is ... 2) to see the world, ourselves, and one another, through God’s eyes ... and 3) to live accordingly.

Wisdom is God’s initiative. It reflects God’s commitment to reveal who God is and who we are – throughout every step, saga, and circumstance of our life. Whoever watches for wisdom at dawn shall not be disappointed (Wisdom 6:14). In times of suffering and darkness, we can ask God to grant us the wisdom to experience God’s presence, power, healing, and love. Wisdom is found by those who seek her (Wisdom 6:12). Whenever we struggle to see ourselves as lovable, we can pray to see ourselves as God sees us – we are God’s beloved! Whoever stays up late nights for the sake of wisdom shall be made free of care (Wisdom 6:15). In times of social or relationship unrest, we can ask God to grant us the courage to see others through God’s eyes.

Wisdom is rooted in a dynamic relationship with God. Pope Francis says that wisdom “comes from intimacy with God . . . from the relationship children have with their [heavenly] Father.”The Scriptures today personify wisdom as making her rounds, visiting us where we are – in our concrete reality. Today’s Second Reading reminds us of the certain hope that gives direction to our relationship with God on earth – namely, that God desires to be in relationship with us for all eternity.

Wisdom demands change. Today’s Gospel presents two types of people: the wise and the foolish. The five wise women send a clear message about what it means to be wise as the kingdom of God unfolds in our midst. They don’t just say that they want change. They prepare for it, work for it, and when the Lord comes to them, they embrace a new future.

Wisdom is a disposition. It is a habit that requires practice. Practice contemplation: Stillness and silence make room for God’s vision to enter our view and transform us. Practice action: To be wise suggests that seeing the world through God’s eyes actually changes the way we do things. Take moments to allow God’s vision to call each of us into action.

As we conclude the Liturgy of the Word and begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist, our heavenly Father calls us to the table of the Lord as a foretaste of the banquet that is to come.

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