32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Nov. 12, 2017


While the Lord’s second coming was certainly something that permeated the minds and hearts of the early Christian communities, it probably is a safe bet that it doesn’t cross the minds of many people today. While Christians do believe that “Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead,” which they dutifully and loudly proclaim at liturgies, it barely penetrates their awareness. It is just too difficult a concept to grasp among the more pressing everyday items on their to-do lists.

Yet today’s Gospel and Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians remind us that this world belongs to God, and the day is coming when God will send Jesus to claim it for its rightful owner. As we prepare to end one Church year and begin a new one, the readings declare the need to give this belief a weightier presence in our lives.

The parable of the 10 virgins can be a 21st-century drama for disciples encountering Jesus as they approach their journey’s final day. Preparedness is the message for that day, and today, more than fear. The Church raises this concern not to scare us into conversion but to sound a warning bell. For the day is coming, and time is still available to consider how we might better prepare. We are asked to make room for God in our lives, improve attitudes that need improving and allow the Lord Jesus a vital place in our hearts. No timetable is offered beyond this present moment, which offers plenty of opportunities to transform our lives. One wisdom-filled question is being asked today: If the Lord comes today, do we have enough oil in our lamps to be ready when he arrives? If not, then changes must be made to obtain the reserve needed.

Sally Mae, a wise grandmother, shared her great wisdom with all her children. With a big heart, and a wide smile she taught them: “Remember, we are here to get to there.” Pointing her finger theatrically down for “here” and pointing it theatrically up for “there.” On this saying, Sally Mae based all her choices. She taught her children to do the same. She encouraged them to consider: “Will this help me to get from here to there?” Sally Mae’s wisdom rested upon the experience that all life’s choices have consequences. Taking time now to ask that question, before making a choice, gives us an opportunity to think twice before finalizing it. Then she added, “It can make Judgment Day go a little easier, too!” Sally Mae was doing exactly what these readings are suggesting — namely, to do a little forward thinking.

Little Things

“Be faithful in small things, because it is in them your strength lies.”
St. Teresa of Calcutta

Homily Helps for the October issue were written by FATHER RICHARD R. DE LILLIO, OSFS, D. Min., an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who is a recently retired associate professor of homiletics at The Catholic University of America.