Cycle (A) 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wis 6:12-16; 1 Thes 4:13-18; Mt 25:1-13

Once a fox was roaming around in a forest looking for food. Suddenly, he saw a pig rubbing his tusks against the trunk of a tree.

The fox looked about carefully but couldn't see any danger for the pig anywhere. Despite being so clever, he couldn't understand why, the pig was doing that.

He couldn't control himself, went to the pig and asked, "The hunters are not out today, nor can I see any other danger, then why are you doing that?"

The pig replied, "Dear! We live in a forest where enemies are there at every step. Who knows when I'll have to face them and use my tusks against them? So, if I don't do it now, I may not get time to sharpen my tusks when I need them the most."

Through the parable of the foolish maidens, Jesus emphasizes the fact that each and every one of us should be prepared, stay awake, because we do not know the day or the hour when we will be summoned to answer before the Lord God.

The point of this story lies in a Jewish custom which is very different. When a couple married, they did not go away; they stayed at home; for a week they kept open house; they were treated, and even addressed, as prince and princess; it was the gladdest week in all their lives. To the festivities of that week their chosen friends were admitted. The foolish virgins missed this chance, because they were unprepared.

This parable warns us that there are certain things which cannot be obtained at the last minute. It is far too late for a student to be preparing for the examination on the last day. It is too far late for a man to acquire a skill, or a character, when some task offers itself to him. When Mary of Orange was dying her chaplain tried to explain to her about the way of salvation. Her answer was, "I have not left this matter to this hour." To be too late is always a tragedy.

When we are prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, we have nothing to fear. A lot of us have desire to achieve few "things" in our life. It could be a new car, a new career, or a new relationship, but when the opportunity presents itself we sometimes crawl back into our little shell, because we are not prepared. Hence we should begin to prepare ourselves for opportunity. If you are asking for something, begin to live that life. If you are wanting to start a new business, start living like you already own the new company. Get into that mind-set. Do all the research necessary and know your business inside out. Once the opportunity is there, you will be prepared to go ahead. On the other hand, if you don't prepare, you will probably fail very quickly.

To be prepared is half the victory and the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. Talent alone won't make you successful; neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: 'Are you ready? Are you well prepared?' Remember, “Luck favours the mind that is prepared."

Thomas Campbell's poem, Lord Ullin's Daughter depicts the theme that a decision that comes too late is of no use. A Scottish chieftain and the daughter of Lord Ullin fell in love. Since they knew that their relation would not be approved by her father they decided to run away from her father.  Lord Ullin's and his men chased his daughter and the chieftain on that fateful night. The lovers soon reached the shore and tried to escape on a boat. The boat man was unwilling to row as it was dark and stormy. But the lovers' persistence made him row. Soon they were caught in the violent storm of the sea. When Lord Ullin reached the shore with his men, he found his lovely daughter in the midst of the raging sea with one hand stretched out for help and the other around her lover. His wrath changed to grief. He wanted to forgive his daughter .But it was too late and the stormy sea had already claimed his daughter and her lover.

There is no knell so laden with regret as the sound of the words "too late".

The second message that the parable teaches is that there are certain things which cannot be borrowed.  The foolish virgins found it impossible to borrow oil, when they discovered they needed it. There are many things that a man cannot borrow. A man cannot borrow a character; he must acquire it. A man cannot borrow his relationship with his neighbours; he must develop it. A man cannot borrow his relationship with God, he must cherish it. Hence, it is the duty of parents and elders to help the growing younger generation to acquire the noble values came down to them from their forefathers. Parents and elders have a grave responsibility to ensure that they have a concrete experience of these values. What is seen and experienced in their families and society will be imitated, and cherished by them.

May Jesus help our families and parish to be the living example of the noble traditions and Christian values.