(32nd Ordinary Sunday: Wisdom 6:12-16; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Matt. 25:1-13)
The parable of the foolish and wise virgins is a cautionary tale. Having failed to welcome the bridegroom on his arrival, the foolish ones are themselves no longer welcome at the feast. Their lack of wisdom has cost them dearly.
Jesus warns his disciples to be like the wise virgins, not only anticipating his return but also doing what is required to prepare for it.
In the Bible, wisdom encompasses many ideas, such as practical skills, shrewdness, deep thoughts and, as in the parable, prudence. It also includes the study of the Scriptures, so as to learn how to use the knowledge obtained, in view of distinguishing right from wrong, in accordance with God’s will.
Thus we read today in Psalm 63, “I will remember you upon my couch, and through the night-watches I will meditate on you.” In another Psalm (119) we find the famous verse, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.”
But unless this wisdom is desired, it will not be found. That is why, in 1846, a Beautiful Lady appeared to two ignorant children in the French Alps, in a globe of light. She meant her words to be a lamp for the feet and a light for the path of her people.
By her beauty and her gentleness, she draws us, like Mélanie and Maximin, into her light or, more precisely, into the light of her crucified Son. Wise Virgin that she is, there are things of which she, like St. Paul, does not want us to be unaware. So she lights the way between Jesus and her people, and shows the distance sin creates between him and us.
Finally, by her compassion, she leads us to hope for the wisdom that comes with repentance, as well as the benefits promised to those who return to the Lord.
Mary speaks of prayer, the Lord’s Day, the Mass, and Lent. These, along with our personal commitment and devotion, are like the oil in the parable, symbolic of the ongoing renewal of our life in Christ.
May our lamp be ever lit as we pray with the Psalmist, “Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory... in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.”
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.