Sunday, November 8th 2020 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin
I recently returned from the Pacific Northwest where I made a mandatory annual retreat at Mount Angel Benedictine Abbey where I had studied for the priesthood 33 years ago. I spent a week in Camas, Washington, with friends completing my allotted summer vacation. I am grateful to be back to the parish and all our wonderful parishioners.
This weekend is the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and the theme of wisdom is a central in our Sunday readings. It is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, key to living our life as Catholics in the complex world in which we find ourselves. As Catholic Christians, we should rely on this gift and ask the Holy Spirit to increase the gifts of wisdom and discernment within us.
Jesus taught the importance of wisdom in our Gospel passage from Matthew. He told the parable of ten virgins awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom who would welcome them into the wedding feast. Five of the virgins were foolish and five were wise. The foolish virgins failed to bring oil along with their lamps when they went to meet the bridegroom. The wise ones, however, had prepared and brought sufficient oil to keep their lamps lit when the bridegroom came. The foolish virgins, caught off guard, ran off to buy more oil, but they were too late. The door to the wedding feast was closed and locked to them. Jesus cautioned, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Living our lives as Catholics — with its daily and weekly commitments to giving God the best of our time, talents and abilities, along with our financial resources — these become the proverbial “oil” that we keep prepared with us at all times. When we have this plan in place and we rely deeply on the Holy Spirit to guide us through the twists and turns of each day, we are free, we are ready to answer the Bridegroom when He comes to take us to the celestial wedding feast. In the end, to live a Catholic Christian way of life is to live in wisdom.