Father Peter Clarke

From the Diocese of Bridgetown

Reflection On The Gospel (Matt.25.1-13) For 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (Cycle A) By Fr. Peter Clarke, OP

Reflection On The Gospel (Matt.25.1-13) For 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time (Cycle A) By Fr. Peter Clarke, OP

Greetings Brothers and Sisters. I'm Fr. Peter Clarke, filling in for my twin brother Isidore who is not well enough to compose his usual reflection on the Gospel for the Sunday Mass. I ask of you that you remember him in your prayers.

Today we reflect on the Gospel for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Matt.25.1-13). Jesus is here telling His disciples that the Kingdom of Heaven will be like the way ten bridesmaids conducted themselves. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible.

If this didn't alert their attention (and now your attention) what would?And that's the point. Jesus wanted to put his people on "Red Alert." What was so threatening, what so liberating, did He have in mind?

The very climax of Salvation History -the Coming of the Day of the Lord - the Day of Judgement when God's verdict on the godly and the ungodlywould be decisive.There's no knowing when this will take place. For each and all this critical moment could be either be their long-prepared-for Day of Glory or their foolishly disregarded possible Day of total, undiluted, Disaster. Welcomed into Paradise or locked out of it…forever?

And now to the account Jesus gives of the wedding and the bridesmaids. In the time and culture of Jesus the highpoint of the long wedding ceremony occurred when the groom, accompanied by his relatives, went to the family house of the bride to transfer her to his home where the rest of the wedding celebration took place.And so the groom goes to fetch his bride. Ten young teenagers are awaiting his return.. Their role in the ceremony is to greet the groom and the entire wedding party when it returns to their home. Five wise ones made certain they had sufficient oil for the lamps – no matter how long the bridegroom kept them waiting. Five foolish ones let their oil, their luck, run out. Their only hope was they might find a place where they could purchase some more oil. On their return they found themselves shut out of the feast.

Now we have to get to grips with parable Jesus makes out of this wedding- with a special interest in the bridesmaids. Jesus would have us know what the Kingdom of God will be like in the most decisive moment of its history.The Bridegroom in the parable is Jesus Himself coming to celebrate with His people His glorious triumph over sin and death. The bridesmaids, the welcoming party awaiting His arrival, have the responsibility of ensuring their lamps are burning when the bridegroom arrives. Crucial to the parable is that it is greatly in their interest that they the live up to what is expected of them.

These bridesmaids, represent you and me, all the people of the earth.As for the bridesmaids, the wise ones ensured their lamps would be burning to welcome the bridegroom. The foolish ones made no such effort and thereby ensured they would be excluded from this wonderful event.

The implications of this parable are such that Jesus puts His disciples on 'Red Alert.' At stake is whether or not we have dealt with the absolute necessity to be ready for Jesus when He comes to us in judgement at the Last Day. Truly wise if we've taken this seriously! Utter fools if we couldn't be bothered to make ourselves acceptable to Jesus.

A final thought. We men can be just as foolish as them girls, and, possibly, just as wise!

Blessing to you all from Isidore and me. 

Fr. Peter Clarke, OP

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