Daily Reflection
November 7th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
The Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 
Wisdom 6:12-16 
Psalm 63:2-8 
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 
Matthew 25:1-13 

It has always been assumed that being wise also meant being learned.  Those of us who are less learned assumed also that wisdom had not visited our door. 

The First Reading of today's liturgy pictures wisdom as a radiant woman who does the seeking, and yet is found by those who love her.  "Those who watch for her at dawn shall not be disappointed." 

The theme of this reading and of the Liturgy of the Word today has to do with waiting, watching and the wisdom which comes to us from being patient. 

Paul, writing his first letter to a community of believers, speaks to us who have, these past days, celebrated the feast of All Souls.  There is much comfort for us who wait to be united with those who have "fallen asleep," as Paul puts it.  We who are still alive, "awake," must console each other to wait expectantly and hopefully for the day of the Lord's coming.  Our missing family-members and dear friends is itself a prayerful hoping for the unity brought to us through the death and rising of Jesus.  These words of Paul are a great grace and challenge for those of us who find the death of a beloved a reason to doubt and be angry with a God Whose love we then doubt. 

The Parable which Jesus uses in today's Gospel has several elements, but one main theme; stay watchful and ready for the coming of the Lover of this world.  The bridegroom is soon to arrive, but He is delayed.  There are some who prepare for that great advent, and others who don't.  "Stay awake...." 

Faith is a form of wisdom which frees us for a vision which goes beyond appearances.  We can so easily seek immediate gratification by grasping for the appearance of certainty.  What is real is only that which we can prove or is reasonable to our limited minds.  We wait only until we know; we watch only until we think we see. 

The gift of physical sight can be an actual debility.  We grow in a sense of security by relying so totally on the facts and data presented to us by our eyes.  We can become so overly-dependent on sight, that our vision becomes our blindness.  "If I can't see him coming, then he probably, no, isn't coming!" 

The lamps of the parable are obviously for being able to see.  The oil in the parable is a sense of patient-faith, and a watching without immediately seeing.  We are invited to keep a live faith alive, that is, faith is more than believing notions, ideals and teachings.  All those, important and essential as they are, are meant to be means by which we await His every coming. 

There are bumper-stickers which proclaim that Jesus is coming again.  The Jesus Who is coming again, is the Jesus of the Eucharist and Word of today's liturgy.  This Jesus Who is coming again, has come many times before and the lamp of our eyes may have missed Him, because He was dressed in the clothes of some one I didn't like or the figure of a person of color or the poor.  The Jesus Who is coming again will continue to come in the forms and times we may least expect.  We know not the day or hour, but we do believe that, "he comes, comes, ever comes."  May those who have eyes to see not be blinded by what they see.  May those who have faith to wait and watch enjoy and welcome not only the last coming, but the next.  This is true wisdom then. 

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