32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2023
St. Mary's Church Secretary Diane Snyder was the inspiration behind this week's sermon!
This past Wednesday, I had a rather... 'refreshing' start to my day. You see, as I stepped into the shower early in the morning, I found the water was not as hot as it should be. The knob was turned all the way to hot, yet it was only slightly warmer than cold.
Puzzled, I thought maybe the hot water heater was just taking its time.
After a day of meetings in Ogdensburg, I returned to find this note from Diane, my secretary, on my desk:
“When I arrived for work this morning the house was cold and the furnace would not go on. I called Champlain Valley Plumbing and Heating to fix the problem and lo and behold we are out of FUEL!”
It was a stark and shivering reminder that being prepared is about more than just setting expectations; it's about ensuring we have what we need to meet them.
In today's Gospel, we hear the parable of the ten virgins, five were prepared with oil in their lamps and the other five had lamps that were bone dry. It's a vivid illustration of readiness—or the lack thereof.
My lukewarm shower was a trivial inconvenience, but it brought to mind how easily we can find ourselves ill-prepared for the things that truly matter. The absence of fuel left me with cold water and a cold house; the absence of oil left the foolish virgins in darkness.
The oil in this parable represents the richness of faith that we are called to maintain. It's not something we can borrow or acquire at the last minute.
It's built up over time, through prayer, through acts of kindness, and through a commitment to living out the Gospel. The warmth of our faith should be palpable, like a hot shower that invigorates and revitalizes, not lukewarm and certainly not cold.
What will Jesus find when He comes again today?
Will He find our 'houses'—our hearts—warm and welcoming, fueled by a deep and vibrant faith?
Or will He find them cold and unprepared, like the empty lamps in the parable or the cold house Diane found? This is a question we must ask ourselves as we strive to live in readiness for His coming.
Do you like music? There’s a song from the '60s that speaks to today’s Gospel: "People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions.
People get ready
There's a train a-coming
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board
All you need is faith
To hear the diesels humming
Don't need no ticket
You just thank the Lord
The 'train' is a metaphor for Jesus and His Kingdom, and it's a-coming whether we are ready or not. The only ticket we need to climb aboard is faith.
People, let’s get ready!
As we are fed by the Eucharist today let it be the fuel that keeps our faith warm. Let's live in such a way that, when the bridegroom comes, we're not scrambling to get ready, but we're already there, with bright lamps, warm hearts, and a faith that's truly alive.