Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our readings this Sunday show us what real, divine Wisdom is. Our Gospel, in typical Matthew fashion, presents two stark contrasts: The five wise maidens who brought oil with them to ensure they could meet the bridegroom…versus the foolish virgins who did not adequately prepare well for the wedding feast and were subsequently locked out because of their tardiness. What was the difference between the two groups?
As they are appropriately named, the WISE virgins possessed more WISDOM, and foolish virgins had…less wisdom. It may seem that the wise virgins made it to the wedding feast (a common biblical symbol for heaven) merely because they were smarter, but Scripture describes wisdom as more than just book knowledge. When we review the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, Wisdom is described as a person, a woman, who wants others to know her, and she even more readily appears before those who seek her (sounds like God!). Indeed, Wisdom is divine; it is a reflection or an image of God’s own Wisdom which created the world and which guides humanity with perfect love. In His Wisdom, God’s love is focused, constant, and unwavering towards us. He loves us above all things, even above His own life (hence the Passion!). That’s how badly He wants to make Himself known to us!
The wise virgins had that same wisdom, that same love, towards the bridegroom, and that kept their focus on him so that everything they did to prepare that night, including bringing the extra flasks of oil, was for the singular purpose of meeting that bridegroom. Perhaps the foolishness in the tardy virgins was not because they were less intelligent; perhaps they had a fine plan in place for what they wanted done prior to the wedding feast. Maybe they were getting more items for their wedding attire, or they practiced dancing…maybe they considered packing extra oil, but didn’t want to be burdened by the weight or it didn’t fit with their other belongings. Ultimately, because they didn’t seek meeting bridegroom as their first goal, they never met him. Wisdom, therefore, is a matter of priorities. It’s a matter of being prudent, or making careful decisions, about our lives so they are oriented towards heaven, the plan God has for our lives, and the way God wants us to live and love.
This week, ask yourself: Where are my priorities? How am I preparing to meet God, the bridegroom? What might be distracting me from seeking a stronger relationship with God?