Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 12, 2017
In my parish there are several older women parishioners who embody for me the beautiful description of “wisdom” found in today’s first reading from the Hebrew Book of Wisdom. There, the notion of wisdom is described in feminine terms. “Lady Wisdom” anticipates what we may be seeking; she waits for us at the start of each day; meets us as we continue through our day. Those wise women elders in my parish fit that description. I look to them for guidance. When they come into the parish church each Sunday, I feel a bit more confident because our community has the gift of their presence and their experience.
The Gospel today offers us a reminder that—in Matthew’s parish at least—there were both wise and foolish women, and men. The evangelist was warning his community that all of its members needed to be prepared for the Lord’s eventual return, an event whose date and time are unknown to us. So Matthew tells the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and their readiness or lack of it for the bridegroom’s return. Locked doors and some hard words from the bridegroom make the parable a real challenge.
But I suspect that my wise women parishioners would remind me that being prepared for the Lord is the basic Christian challenge. His final coming–as well as his daily presence in my life–is something I need to be ready to welcome.