‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Sunday Reflections, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


Christ and the Wise Virgins
German Mediaeval Sculptor [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Gospel Matthew 25:1-13 (English Standard Version Anglicised)

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Dominikus Zimmerann [Web Gallery of Art]

In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down from the panel above your head… Secure your own mask before helping others.

I have heard those words hundreds of times before a flight takeoffs. I have never experienced having to use one of these masks and I hope that I never will. The others mentioned in the instruction are children and persons with disabilities of one kind or another who would need help. But the instruction is clear: Secure your own mask before helping others.

Oxygen Masks Droppiing
The introduction to today's Mass in Magnificat, a wonderful monthly daily missal that also includes daily morning and evening prayer, reads: Why do the five wise virgins not share their oil with the five foolish ones? Because it is something that simply cannot be shared. The oil is our personal virtue. 'The wise maidens represent all those who possess the ensemble of virtues which characterise a complete Christian life. The burning oil lamps which they carry . . . symbolically portray Christian wisdom . . . This Christian wisdom empowers all those who embrace prudence and the other moral virtues to fulfil the requirements of an integral and holy life' (Fr Romanus Cessario OP). 'God, through Jesus, will bring with him those who' seek wisdom with the same ardour with which the wise virgins seek the bridegroom. For Christ is the Bridegroom.

Airlines instruct adult and able-bodied passengers to put on their own masks first. If they don't they may not be in a position to help others for whom they have a responsibility. The situation is an emergency and everything has to be done quickly. Adults are asked to behave as responsible adults.

The ten virgins in the parable are also adults, albeit young. Every one of them made a decision. The five wise virgins decided to buy the oil necessary for lighting their lamps even though they did not know when exactly they would be using them. The five foolish virgins decided not to buy the oil they needed. There was no 'emergency' as there is in a plane if the oxygen masks drop. Being ready to meet the bridegroom whenever he might arrive wasn't a priority with them. For the five wise virgins it was.

If we see the bridegroom in the parable as representing Jesus we can see that Jesus is asking us to direct our lives constantly towards him. 

For last Sunday I wrote about newly-beatified 15-year-old Blessed Carlo Acutis who used to tell his friends, The goal of my life is to always be united with Jesus

On a number of occasions I have written about Clement Shabaz Bhatti, the Catholic Pakistani politician assassinated in 2011, who wrote in his Spiritual TestimonyI want to live for Christ and it is for Him that I want to die.

These are two contemporary examples of persons ready with their lamps lit for the Bridegroom - Jesus Christ Himself - when he came.

St Charles Borromeo, the great Archbishop of Milan, whose feast day is celebrated on 4 November, said in the sermon he gave at his last synod: Or is your task the care of souls? Then do not neglect your own. Do not spend yourself so completely on other people that you have nothing left for yourself. Of course you have to look after the souls your have been put in charge of, but not to the extent that you forget your own

St Charles Borromeo Administers the Sacrament to the Plague-Infected
Caspar Franz Sambach [Web Gallery of Art]

Extraordinary Form of the Mass

Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) 

This Sunday, 8 November, is is the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost  in the calendar that uses the TLM.

The complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 11-8-2020, if necessary).

Epistle: Philippians 3:17-21; 4:1-3. Gospel: Matthew 9:18-26.

Authentic Beauty

Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond.

Pope Benedict XVI meeting with artists in the Sistine Chapel, 21 November 2009.

From Messiah by Handel
Philippe Sly: Bass-Baritone, Julian Wachner: Conductor
Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.(1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
The trumpet. . . da capo (1 Corinthians 15: 52-53


St Columban's Cemetery, Dalgan Park, County Meath, Ireland

Fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace.
May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Go bhfaighe anamacha na bhfíréan suaimhneas sioraí trí thrócaire Dé.


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