32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 8/11/2020 - Gospel: Mt 25: 1-13
A wedding feast is a special time. It is special because, apart from a new family being born, a couple's status is about to change, from unknown to in- law relatives, from a non- member to a new member, from a non-relative, to be included, as sister or brother of the families. In short, a wedding feast is the happy occasion which celebrates a whole range of new relationships with the extended family members and friends. Jesus used these personal status change, and the new relationships of the wedding feast on earth, to talk about the spiritual change in God's kingdom. Our spiritual wedding feast begins at our own Baptism. Through Baptism, our personal status changes to becoming God's children, new members of God's Church on earth, and finally part of the sisters and brothers in heaven. The changes begin here on earth, and culminate when we actually enter the everlasting wedding feast. St Paul wrote to the Thessalonians 4,13-18, confirming the heavenly realm: 'We want you to be quite certain, about those who have died... God will bring them with him....We shall stay with the Lord forever.

The parable of the wedding feast talks about ten maidens. Five were wise and five were foolish. For some reason, the groom arrived later than expected. All the maidens fell asleep. Sleepiness in waiting was not the problem, but the problem arose for half of them when their lamps' oil run out. With the announcement of the groom's arrival, the wise maidens entered the wedding hall with the groom. The foolish ones went to buy oil. By the time they returned, the banquet had already begun, and the wedding hall's door was bolted. They knocked, but were refused. They took advice from the wise maidens, and yet they alone took all the blame. Listening to the wise advice, in this case, was unwise. No one is always wise and no one is always foolish. Foolishness in this case was about 'un-readiness', and was about asking the wrong question. Instead of asking for oil, they should have asked for partnership, that each of the foolish pair with a wise one to enter the wedding hall. They should have never gone away to buy oil, but would have been better remaining to welcome the groom. Going away to buy oil would make people think that material (oil) was more important than people, the groom. The wise maidens had their focus on the groom; while the foolish had their focus on the oil. The relationship between the wise and the foolish maidens was poor. What they needed most was not advice, but oil. They didn't receive what they most needed. The extra oil the wise maids brought into the wedding hall may be considered as a waste, because there was no need for it after they had entered the wedding hall. Foolishness happens when one focuses on materials, rather than on people. Materials are needed for life, to support life, but our lives are much more important than materials. Having no companions on a journey was considered as foolish as well, because companionship is the source of life. It gives life, supports life and life- security.

The parable is about readiness for our own eternal wedding banquet. Our time of death is unknown. Being ready whenever it comes is what the parable is about. Having right relationships with God and with one's neighbours are conditions of entering the eternal banquet.