Reflection for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary time…Nov. 12, 2023

By Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate

 My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God  (Psalm 63:2b)

As we near the end of the church’s liturgical year, we also come to the final chapters of Matthew’s Gospel.  Today, we hear about the ten virgins awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom.  All are prepared with oil lamps, but only five bring extra oil.  When the bridegroom arrives, only those five have enough oil to keep their lamps lit and are allowed to enter the wedding feast.  The others are forced to leave and, when they return with more oil, are turned away.

What does this parable mean for us, you may ask.  Are we to hoard what we have and not share it with others?  Isn’t that what the wise virgins did?  Are we to dismiss those in need and suggest that they fend for themselves?

Wait!  Perhaps the lamps and their oil do not refer to material things.  Rather, having our “lamps lit” means that we must live our lives always prepared for the arrival of the “bridegroom” Jesus Christ.  We can’t assume that we will have time at the end of our lives to get ready.  Rather, we should live each day as if it is our last.  As Jesus says at the end of this parable, “You know neither the day nor the hour.”