Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Only 2 weeks left in the year, the liturgical year that is.  And every year the readings for these final Sundays are what is called apocalyptic.  Readings focused on the end times, the second coming of Christ.  The whole idea is be prepared!  How?  How are we to be prepared?  Two thoughts struck me when I read the Gospel:  wisdom and waiting.

Wisdom.   What do you think of when you hear that word?  The dictionary says, “accumulated philosophical or scientific learning or knowledge.”  Well that is easy to understand!  But biblical wisdom is much more than knowledge or learning.  In fact, one can be wise and have no wisdom.  We even call them “a wise guy.”  Wisdom is being able to value what is truly valuable.  Let me repeat that because there is an awful lot in the one statement.  Wisdom is being able to value what is truly valuable.  We value a lot of things don’t we.  Our house, our car, our golf clubs (even though half of the time they don’t work right).  Our family and friends.  But do we value what is truly valuable?  Do we even know what is truly valuable?  Those foolish virgins in the Gospel didn’t know.  The most valuable thing they could ever possess was to be part of the wedding feast.  And they weren’t prepared for that.  But the other ones knew what was valuable and they did everything they could to be ready to join the bridegroom.

What does it look like to value what is truly valuable?  We have a wonderful example in John’s Gospel.  The 6th chapter is filled with Eucharistic language, I am the Bread of Life and it is caped by the famous Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  We are told that many of his disciples could not accept this, and they left him.  So Jesus asked his twelve disciples, Do you also wish to go away?  And Peter answered him, Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  There, that’s it, that is wisdom.  Peter knew what was valuable and he wasn’t going to give it up.  You have the words of eternal life.

But for us, like the 10 virgins, there is a long wait for what we value and it’s hard to wait.  What is important is how we wait.  How we spend this waiting time determines how we will spend the rest of time.  

There is a wonderful story about how we are called to wait.  A man knocks on a door.  The voice from inside says, “Who is it?”  The man says, “It’s your countryman.”  The voice behind the door says, “There is no one here.”  The man wanders for a year, returns to the door, and knocks a second time.  The voice from inside says, “Who is it?”  The man says, “It’s your brother.”  The voice behind the door says, “There is no one here.”  The man wanders for another year, returns to the door, and knocks a third time.  The voice from, inside says, “Who is it?”  The man says, “It is you.”  The door opens.

How does Christ know us?  He knows us when he looks into our face and sees himself.  If we want to be admitted to the wedding feast, we have to spend our waiting time focused on what is truly valuable; we have to be Christ in the world.  We may know everything about Him, we may worship Him everyday, pray all the time.  But the one thing necessary for salvation is to realize we are called to be Christ.  We are called to be Christ’s hands, feet and face to all we meet.

Then the door will open.