Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time in year A

Posté par diaconos le 4 novembre 2020

# Jesus Christ, the Christ is the name given by all Christians to Jesus of Nazareth, whom they consider to be the Messiah announced by the Old Testament of Judaism, who died and rose again for the salvation of mankind. Most Christians recognise Jesus Christ as the only Son of God and as one of the three persons of the Triune God. His mother is Mary of Nazareth. It was only on the basis of critical research in the 19th century that historians gradually dissociated Jesus Christ, the religious figure, and Jesus of Nazareth, the historical figure. Muslims recognise Jesus of Nazareth as an eminent prophet of God under the name ʿĪsā. The oldest Christian texts are the letters of Paul of Tarsus, of which seven of the fourteen contained in the New Testament are today considered authentic and written between 50 and 55. The essence of Paul’s profession of faith (also known as the kerygma) is expressed in the First Epistle to the Corinthians.

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# The Parable of the Ten Virgins, also known as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins or the Parable of the ten bridesmaids,[Matthew 25:1-13] is one of the parables of Jesus. According to Matthew 25:1-13, ten virgins await a bridegroom; five have brought enough oil for their lamps for the wait, while another five need to purchase more oil after the arrival is delayed. The five virgins who are prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival are rewarded, while the five who are not prepared are disowned. The parable has a clear eschatological theme: be prepared for the Day of Judgement.[1] It was one of the most popular parables in the Middle Ages and had influence on Gothic art, sculpture and the architecture of German and French cathedrals.

Here is the bridegroom, go out to meet him.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew

At that time, Jesus told his disciples this parable : « The kingdom of heaven will be like ten young girls invited to a wedding, who took their lamps to go out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were carefree and five were farsighted : the carefree ones took their lamps without taking any oil with them, while the farsighted ones took bottles of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was late, they all dozed off and fell asleep. In the middle of the night there was a cry : ‘Behold the bridegroom ! Come out to meet him. Then all the girls woke up and began to prepare their lamps.
The carefree ones asked the farsighted ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out. The farsighted answered them : ‘It will never be enough for us and for you, so go to the market and buy some for yourself.
While they were going to buy some, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding hall, and the door was shut. Later, the other girls came in their turn and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open up for us’. And he said to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you’. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. «  (Mt 25, 1-13)

You must !

In his encyclical Populorum Progressio (from the Vatican, on the feast of Easter, 26 March 1967), Pope Paul VI stated : « Every life is a vocation » because it is a call to holiness, a call to live the very life of God by being totally transfigured by his love.

As a call, vocation invites a response. The one that the Lord expects from us is a response of faith. Peter, too, was called by the Lord and his response was expressed in this admirable profession of faith: « You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.  You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God » (Mt 16:16).

But Peter probably did not perceive the significance of his words. This Sunday’s Gospel page shows us : at the moment when he has just obtained the first profession of faith from his disciples, and from Peter in particular, Jesus makes the first announcement of his Passion : « From that day on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem, suffer much suffering at the hands of the elders, chief priests and scribes, be killed and rise again on the third day » (Mt 16, 21).

In our lives, certain events mark a rupture that is a call to something else. Jesus himself experienced such situations: Jesus began to tell his disciples that he had to leave for Jerusalem. Jesus had to mature this decision: he had to !

This expression, in the biblical sense, always means a reference to the will of the Father. When we say we must, in turn, we adhere to the will of the Father in faith.  Jesus was barely thirty years old, in the prime of life, and his ministry was about to come to an abrupt end. From the human point of view, it was failure. The hatred of the religious and civil authorities and the abandonment of the crowds: elders, chief priests, scribes, all the notables and rulers of Jerusalem were against him !

From that moment on (Mt 16, 21a), Jesus announced his Passion three times (Mt 16:21; Mt 17:22-23 and Mt 20:18-19). Taking him aside, Peter began to rebuke him sharply : « God forbid, Lord, Lord! This will not happen to you. It will not happen to you » (Mt 16, 22).

Peter refused to see Jesus as the suffering servant. It takes a strong faith to accept the mystery of Jesus, the saviour of the world through the cross. It is at this moment that Jesus addresses his call to all : « If anyone wants to follow me, he must renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me.  « (Mt 16:24).

To follow Christ is also to purify our prayer. Too often we turn to him when everything goes wrong. And we want him to do something to make everything better. We don’t have to tell God what to do. God is not committed to our service. He is not our boy. Some people no longer pray or go to Mass because, they say, it is useless. And that’s where we are wrong. We don’t pray, we don’t go to Mass for ourselves but for God. When we love, we don’t think first of ourselves but of the other. He who truly loves is ready to sacrifice himself for the other.

Today’s Gospel gives us a very strong commandment : « Get behind me !  «  It is a call to change the way we look at God and the meaning we give to our lives. The most important thing is not material success, the promotion, the enhancement of the self. Jesus would like to direct us towards another logic, that of true love, of self-giving, of gratuity. It is on this path that we are called to follow him. By choosing Christ, we choose Life.

God is love, and his love is the secret of our happiness. To enter into this mystery of love, there is no other way than to lose oneself, to give oneself, one must renounce oneself, there is no true love without this renunciation. To really love is expensive, very expensive sometimes : to forgive someone, to have the courage to show yourself as a believer in a hostile environment, to love your spouse faithfully, to continue to look after children who seem to make fun of you, to keep a sense of sharing, to remain honest in business. To truly love, you have to put a price tag on it !

According to Jesus, you have to lose in order to win : « Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will keep it.  « (Mt 16:25) In short : Jesus suggests that we love to the end, live fully and win what is essential.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Father Robert P. Hagan : click here to read the paper →   Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

◊  Father Hanly   : click here to read the paper →   32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Homily by Archbishop José H. Gomez

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