Thirty Second Sunday of the Year Homily

Posted on Nov 14, 2017


12 November 2017


I have a lot of empathy for the foolish virgins/bridesmaids in the story Jesus tells today.

I’ve discovered that some people are just too gentle for this world, too easily broken.

They always seem to be in the wrong place at the right time,

or in the right place at the wrong time.

Several years ago I went to visit a boarding school to visit the son of a parishioner.

When we met he said, “No one likes me.”

He was new to the school, coming in half way through the year.

With all of my earthly wisdom, I said,

“It’s hard to change schools and leave all your friends behind.”

He replied, “I didn’t have any friends in my other school either.”

I wouldn’t have known what to say to him.

Even though I’m not into hug therapy what else would you have done with this teenager?

The world is hard on some people.

People who are not malicious, nor intentionally irresponsible.

People who never quite get it all together at one time.

I know that exegetically I’m not supposed to make a big deal of the fact that the

wise virgins/bridesmaids didn’t share their oil with the foolish ones.  I know

at least part of the point of the story from Matthew’s perspective is that

we’re all supposed to “burn our own oil–we can’t burn anybody else’s.”

But then I have a question for Matthew or Jesus or God.

What do you say to the people like that student?

What do you say to all the people who are in the right place at the wrong time?

I want to know, because I want to believe in and love a God

who somehow makes allowances for the people who are crushed by the

weight of the world.

We are the ones who rely on God,

and could not bear it if God too turned us away

and claimed he did not know who we were.

If the moral of the story which Jesus tells today is to “keep your eyes open” then I think that teen-ager and the people like him certainly must be searching for God, counting on God to return.  They grope their way toward him, knowing neither the way or the day, but hoping against hope that “something better must surely come along because all the bad things have happened already.”

I have to believe that God too is coming toward us, trying to find us in this world.  I hope God comes soon, before we run out of oil.