Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time


In this post 9/11 world, people are encouraged to be ever vigilant because of the threat of terrorism. The Readings for the Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time remind us that it is also important to be spiritually vigilant. In the Gospel of St. Matthew Jesus states, “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

The parable of the Ten Bridesmaids reminds us that true wisdom is found in being prepared to meet the bridegroom when he arrives. The bridesmaids who had sufficient oil for their lamps were invited into the wedding banquet. The others were locked out because they were not prepared.

he Second Reading from St. Paul to the Thessalonians speaks of the hope that we have in the face of death, “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.” We find hope in the Resurrection of Jesus. This does not mean that our salvation is automatic.

As the parable reminds us, not everyone will be allowed to enter the wedding banquet. Our Church teaches that at the moment of death each person will have to stand before the judgement seat of God and give an account. This is called “particular judgment” because it is particular to each person. When Jesus comes again at the end of time there will be the “last judgement” that will reveal to its fullest consequence the good each person had done or failed to do on earth (CCC1039).

The image of a lamp that we find in the Gospel parable represents the light of faith. The oil symbolizes what we do to keep the light of faith burning brightly in our lives. To put it simply, being spiritually vigilant is to work at personal holiness. This does not happen naturally because of our sin and human weakness. “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”