TO SEEK AND LOVE WISDOM
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are invited to seek wisdom and to love wisdom. Our readings for this Holy Mass this morning talk to us about the meaning of true wisdom in our lives. What is wisdom? What does it mean to be “wise”?
In our first reading today, which is from the Book of Wisdom, we learn that wisdom is a gift from God. Wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and it allows us to know what is really important and essential in life. Our first reading gives us the beautiful assurance, the beautiful promise of God: Wisdom is “readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. “So we have this beautiful promise from God: that if we love wisdom, if we love God, if we pray for his wisdom for our lives, our loving Father will grant us this gift. In the second reading, St. Paul tells us the basis of true wisdom. He tell us the truth about God’s plan for our lives — that if we live for Jesus Christ, we will discover the joy that in dying we rise to new life in him. We will have eternal life.
In the Gospel today, we have the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins. The message of the parable is clear. We need to make sure that we are like those wise virgins in the parable, that we always have enough “oil” for our lamps. We need to make sure that we are always renewing our life of faith — through prayer, through our reading of the Gospels, through the graces we receive by the power of his sacraments. These things are the “oil” that Jesus talks about in the Gospel today. The “oil” of our prayer; the “oil” of all our personal acts of piety and devotion; all our efforts to work with God’s graces and to grow in virtue and holiness. The foolish virgins are not bad people. They are just lazy. They have no desire for wisdom. They don’t want to work too hard in their spiritual lives. And that is a lesson for us, also. Sometimes we can get lazy in spiritual life.
One mistake we make is to think we don’t have enough time to pray, or that we will get to it later when we are done with all our other work and goals. That’s a big mistake. Prayer should be first in our lives. All it takes is a few minutes each day to quiet our hearts, to center our minds on Jesus Christ. God is expecting beautiful things from each one of us. So we need this oil — of prayer, of good works, of charity,— so that our lamps keep burning brightly. So that we can shine as the light of Christ into every corner of our culture and our society.
So today, let’s make a resolution to “get busy” — making sure that our lamps are going strong. We can work this week on improving our relationship with God by spending a little more “quality time” in prayer. Let’s also ask what more we can do for the mission of the Church — to help our neighbors be able to go out to meet Jesus Christ like the wise virgins in today’s parable. Coming to our life, we need to be wise enough to remain ever prepared: Wise Christians find Jesus in the most ordinary experiences of daily living — in the people they meet, the events that take place, and the situations in which they find themselves, and they carefully make their daily choices for God. They are ready to put the commandment of love into practice by showing kindness, mercy and forgiveness.
And Let us be sure that our Lamps are ready for the end of our lives: Spiritual readiness, preparation and growth are the result of intentional habits built into one’s life. We cannot depend on a Sunday Mass or morning service to provide all our spiritual needs. We cannot depend on Christian fellowship to provide us with spiritual development. The meeting of spiritual needs and spiritual development itself come through routine, mundane attention to ordinary spiritual disciplines — making sure we have enough oil or spiritual fuel: oil of compassion and mercy, oil of patience and sympathy and forgiveness. We open ourselves to receive these graces by taking time for prayer, and being alone with God; by reading God’s Word; by living a sacramental life; by offering acts of service to others; by moral faithfulness, by loving obedience, and by spending time with other Christians for mutual prayer, study and encouragement, and when we receive them, we thank God for His generous love. As taking these ways becomes habitual, they cease to be a struggle and begin to be a source of strength and blessing. They make our lives powerful against the onslaught of the world.
Let’s ask Mary, our Blessed Mother and the Seat of Wisdom, to help us to seek the gift of Wisdom to understand God’s plan for us. And let us ask for her intercession that today we renew our faith and start this new life — a life of faith that fills our whole life with meaning, with security and with joy.
May God Bless you all.