Daily Homily: Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God

Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time, Year Two

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1 Corinthians 1:17-25
Psalm 33:1-2,4-5,10-11
Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus is the bridegroom who ascended into heaven to prepare a place for his bride, the Church. He will return and when he does we must be ready to greet him, with our lamps burning bright. Today’s parable tells us about five foolish virgins who were not ready and about five wise virgins who were ready to welcome the bridegroom.

The five foolish virgins do not persevere to the end. They brought enough oil to light their lamps for a time, but eventually they ran out of oil and have to leave to buy more oil. While they are away, the bridegroom returns. The oil lamps can be seen to represent the light and fire of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church. Those who are wise, filled with the Spirit of God, and ready for the bridegroom are welcomed into the wedding feast of heaven; those who are foolish and unprepared are locked outside.

In his Letter to the Corinthians, Paul also speaks about wisdom. For the Gentiles, Jesus’ death is foolishness. It looks like he failed. For the Jews, Jesus’ death is a stumbling block. It doesn’t seem to correspond to the role of the Messiah-King. For believers, Jesus’ death represents the mystery of God’s love and gives the ultimate answer that human reason seeks.

In his letter, Paul presents the opposition between “the wisdom of the world” and the wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross is a challenge for every human philosophy or wisdom, for we cannot reduce the Father’s saving plan to mere human logic. “The wisdom of the wise is no longer enough for what God wants to accomplish; what is required is a decisive step towards welcoming something radically new: ‘God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise…; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not to reduce to nothing things that are’ (1 Cor 1:27-28). Human wisdom refuses to see in its own weakness the possibility of its strength; yet Saint Paul is quick to affirm: ‘When I am weak, then I am strong'” (2 Cor 12:10)” (Pope Saint John Paul II,Fides et ratio, 23). Without God’s revelation, we cannot grasp how death could be the source of life and love.

In the Gospel, Matthew connects wisdom to watchfulness, life in the Spirit, and perseverance in love; in the first reading, Paul connects wisdom to the Cross of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, wisdom is knowledge of God and the wise man judges all things in the divine light. True human wisdom tells us that God created the world and providentially governs it. Revealed wisdom goes beyond this and tells us that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that the Father sent his only Son to redeem us from sin and conquer death, that we are called to be God’s children, through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit, and to share in his eternal life.

Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at mitchelljason2011@gmail.com.

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Jason Mitchell

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