Greetings on this the Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: WIS 6:12-16; PS 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 1 THES 4:13-18; MT 25:1-13
Note: This 32nd Sunday in Ordinary time homily is given at 4:00 PM Vigil Mass, The Sunday Mass is broadcast on the internet on both:
Current Events: A shout out congratulations to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, first, and President-elect Joseph Biden, second, because today’s homily is for women only.
That is right I told the men to go to sleep while I give the homily for the women.
Steubenville Conferences Florida 2019
It seems an eternity ago but in 2019 we took a group of teens to the Steubenville Conference Orlando Florida.
It was a great conference and I encourage attendance next year assuming the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is at a low point by July 2021.
During the conference there was a separated conference talk for boys and a separate conference talk for girls.
When we regathered the next day for open discussion for just our parish teens we were each asked to make note of the conference so far.
I made the comment that the boys separate conference was about picking good role models.
Then I asked, ‘What did the girls talk about in their separated conference?’
The response was a shocked expression. They couldn’t imagine that I would ask ‘that’ question. I was shocked at their shock. But they told us anyway.
The girl’s conference was about being supportive of one another, expanding to say too often teen girls are very disrespectful and downright harmful to one another.
It was my turn to be shocked. I did not know that was the dominate problem at least in 2019 south Florida.
The Ten Virgins
- Try to set aside cultural differences or any trigger thoughts you may have. The message is a simple one: Today’s gospel reading is a singularly important reading for women.
- Parables are meant to sense deeper spiritual meanings and build reflective spirits for the purpose of conversion which brings righteousness.
One should note that in the four Gospels this is the ONLY story where women, as a group, are specifically called out.
Most of the stories regarding women are specific and particular issue. This is a global story regarding women. It is one of the stark ‘Lord, Lord’ dialogs.
Jesus is using the parable technique to teach something really critical: Women must take care of one another and build each other up. The Steubenville event came to mind as an excellent modern example of the teaching of this story. The necessity of being positively focused is timeless.
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.
It is important to note that all ten of the women were virgins. This observation is made to simply state that all 10 women were virtuous and good people! This is not a question of evil verses good. The dividing line is being wise or foolish. Jesus specifically is keeping us out of the judgment mindset of womanhood itself and sexual purity in particular, a universal standard.
The number five denotes disciples of a teaching. It takes five followers to be described as Rabbi. So these are five women that follow a good teacher and five that follow a bad teacher.
The wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. The Oil is at the same time the teachings of their Rabbi and the divine gift of Presence. The foolish did not have enough oil. Their teacher did not prepare them and they did not know the divine source of Oil.
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’…. ‘Go’.
Do you need me to expand this? I hope not with all the preparation comments already made.
Were they actually wise, then? Would really they be rejected for sharing their Oil? Do we not have enough description in the Old Testament of Oil lasting a longer time than expected?
His audience would have known the stories of Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath, Elisha & the widow and the Oils of Hanukkah.
Forgetting Oil is a mistake.
Not sharing Oil is another more consequential mistake.
Jesus is denoting two essentials in one story. You must have sacred Oil of the presence of God. You must share your sacred Oil portion.
Share your oil.
Do not let the occasion of following a poor teacher be the reason you allow another to walk this life in darkness without the Oil to light their lamps.
Build each other up. Do not tell them to ‘Go away’.