Growing up, one of my great aunts used to visit lots of different shops to buy various groceries. When asked why she didn’t just get them all in the one store she said that in that store the vegetables were cheaper and in another the tins were cheaper and in another the meat and cheese were cheaper, she also kept an eye on the quality of what she bought ensuring not only that she bought cheaply, but that she bought wisely. In her mind there was no point in buying something cheap if her family did not eat it. Some of her neighbours and some of our relatives would tease her about her habits and suggest she could buy everything under the one roof and save time; but she preferred to use her time making her money go further.

Wisdom comes in many guises. In today’s scriptures we hear that wisdom is available to all who look for it and that Wisdom [with a capital W] actively looks for those who seek it. This Wisdom, is the Wisdom of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. As Christians we know that God is constantly loving us and seeking us and wants us to do the same for Him.

Today’s psalm is one of my favourites, ‘for you my soul is thirsting. My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water. So I gaze for you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory. For your love is better than life.’ So descriptive, so powerful, so revealing; the words paint a picture, a landscape where we seek God, this is not our Eden, this is in a desert land where we seek God earnestly trying to get closer to Him and trying to understand our purpose.

In the second reading, St Paul urges us not to grieve when we lose a loved one; but to remember that as followers of Christ we have that hope that we will rise like Christ and be with our loved ones again; but this time in Christ’s presence. Think about that for a moment, to be reunited with loved one’s who we cannot see now, but God willing, we will see again, in the presence of our Lord and Saviour. How reassuring is that?

In the Gospel we hear another parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. Growing up I always thought that the Christian thing to do would have been for those who had oil to share what they had with those who did not. However, having the oil is a metaphor for being ready. Those who brought along the extra oil, had prepared properly; these are those among us who are ready to meet the Lord. We may take example from them and try our best to be like them. As Jesus says we do not know the day or the hour when we will be called.

When I was an apprentice, many years ago, I was always impatient to get to the parts of the job that were fun or challenging. The bits where I could use my blowlamp or start fitting new appliances; probably the parts that people would notice. An old tradesman told me that 80% of what we do is preparation, and only the smallest part is in the doing. I would often rush the preparation, only paying it lip-service, and inevitably I would encounter problems because I was ill prepared. There are times in my life now that I find I still don’t prepare properly [Pam says it is most of the time]. Jesus is warning us against doing this in the most important task we have in our life; getting back home to the Father.

At the end of each day, we are encouraged to reflect on the day we have just experienced – have I made good choices?

When I prayed, was I really in touch with God, or did I drift away, not fully understanding the words I said or read; not truly experiencing a relationship with Jesus?

Did I miss any opportunities to love my neighbour?

And, if God spares me, what will I do differently tomorrow?

By reviewing our day, we are seeking the Wisdom available to us, which was mentioned in the first reading, and as Jesus has told us if we seek then we shall find [Mt 7:7]. By doing this last thing at night we can fulfil the words of the psalm used today ‘On my bed I remember you, on you I muse through the night.’ By doing this preparation and putting our plans for the next day into action, we may then be counted among the wiser bridesmaids, who prepared properly and could go out to meet the bridegroom and enter into the banquet.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 671-672: we wait for all to be made subject to Christ
CCC 988-991: the just will live forever with the risen Christ
CCC 1036, 2612: vigilant waiting for the Lord’s return

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Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Those discerning a vocation and those considering coming into the Catholic Church.
  • The success of the Money Coaching sessions, which have started at St Bede’s.
  • Those preparing for the Winter Night Shelter this year.