IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO BELIEVE BUT PERSEVERE IN FAITH – 12 November 2017 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Wis 6:12-16; I Thess 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13
Fernando Armellini SCJ
Claretian Publications, Macau

When Matthew writes to a despondent community that could not see the second coming of the Lord as they had expected. So Mathew writes the original story, which Jesus addressed to Israel, to suit the disappointed Christians. The ten virgins do not indicate Israel any longer, but the Church (the bride) that awaits the return of her Lord, her Bridegroom. Thus there is also a logical explanation for the fact that the bride does not appear: the bride is the Christian community, represented by the ten virgins.

“Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” A theme dear to Matthew is resumed here. In the Christian community, the good and the evil live together; the wheat and the weeds grow in the same field; the wise and the foolish are side by side.
The foolish virgins represent the Christians at risk, those who focus their lives on what is transient; those who neglect true values; those who forget the one thing necessary, that which Mary had chosen being at the Lord’s feet and becoming his disciple (Lk 10:38-42).

The vigilant virgins are instead Christians who do not let themselves be seduced by vanity and remain focused on what is important in life. The puzzling behavior of the wise virgins, show the importance of living well not just dying well. God—it is true—always finds a way to save the person, but in the end everyone will end up with what one did: with a solid and magnificent palace or with a paper made castle, which will not stand the fire of God’s judgment, when he “will test the work of everyone” (1 Cor 3:13-17).

The closing of the door indicates the end of every opportunity. Hence the urgent need to establish how to use life well and the image of the lighted lamp suggests the way. Whoever has made evangelical choices will preserve and keep in mind and heart the light of faith, even in those moments when trials and difficulties will go beyond the expected. However, the choice of the one who, for a while follows the proposals of Christ, but later, being tired, leans towards other values or interests, will be condemned and judged insane.

Jesus is not coming only at the end of our life. He comes in every moment and wants to find his disciples engaged in service, in the gift of themselves to the brothers and sisters.

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