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Theology for the common man

32d Sunday in Ordinary Time A Year

Sunday, November 08, 2020

In today's Gospel, Jesus Christ refers to the Jewish wedding customs, when the parents of both sides come to an understanding about the dowry of a groom and the regulations of property of the future couple; it was often a cause of delay of the wedding ceremony itself. While negotiations were prolonged it would become night; then just in case it was good to have in reserve some oil to keep the lamps lit; we have to remember that in that time there was no electricity. This is exactly the situation Jesus is referring to, when 10 bridesmaids are waiting for the bridegroom and it is getting late because the negotiations of the parents were prolonged. Half of those bridesmaids, the evangelist calls them foolish or imprudent virgins, who didn’t have the oil in reserve for their lamps, so they had to go to the market to buy more. During their absence the bridegroom came to the wedding hall and the door was closed. Coming back the absent virgins couldn’t enter the wedding hall so as not to disturb the ceremony. In a similar situation, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to those who will have participation in it: only a guest, in the example of a prudent virgin, who in time secures for herself oil in her lamp. This guest will be a witness of the coming of a bridegroom, on whose coming he will be already prepared. We feel that Jesus thinks about the moral life of each of us during our lifetime, and especially at the moment of our death. This moment, as a whole life, should be enlightened with a light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; which gives as an additional argument, in favor to have hope of eternity with God. St. Paul teaches us exactly that while writing to the Thessalonians: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” Let’s keep prudent, leading a good life, as Jesus' example, all our life, and not to be surprised by the coming of the Lord. It is a true wisdom of life the first reading speaks about today advising to be always close to God.