Welcome to all, children of the Lord God, brothers and sisters in Christ! Today, our three Readings delivered a beautiful fatherly message to us. The Lord called us all to be wise in the management of our spiritual lives.
During the First Reading from the Book of Wisdom, [Wis. 6:12-16] we heard how it is to our benefit that we listen to wisdom. In this Reading, Wisdom was addressed as if the writer was talking of a person. Reflecting on this passage, I see a picture of the Holy Spirit. If we were to change the word 'wisdom' for 'Holy Spirit,' we would increase our spiritual insight on the meaning of the First Reading. The words would sound like this...
The Holy Spirit is radiant and unfading,
and He is easily discerned by those who love Him,
and is found by those who seek Him.
He hastens to make Himself known to those who desire Him.
One who rises early to seek Him will have no difficulty,
for He will be found sitting at the gate.
To fix one's thought on Him is perfect understanding,
and one who is vigilant on His account will soon be free from care,
because He goes about seeking those worthy of Him,
and He graciously appears to them in their paths,
and meets them in every thought.
In these Sacred Words, we perceive how the light of God shines on His children [Mt. 5:14-6; Jn. 1:9] through the Spirit of Christ who will remain with us forever. [Jn. 14:16, 24:49; Acts 1:4, 2:2-4] Through the discernment of the spirits, one knows by the fruit of the Spirit of God [Gal. 5:22-3] that it is the Holy Spirit who is present. God gives the Holy Spirit freely to those who ask for His Divine Presence. The Holy Spirit wastes no time to make Himself known to those who want to know Him, this manifestation being very obvious in some prayers groups and Charismatic Movements just to name a couple of places.
When one keeps his eyes on the Lord and his mind on what is spiritual, he receives perfect understanding. Living according to the Spirit, he sets his mind on the Spirit. [Rom. 8:5] As the Book of Proverbs repeats over and over, knowledge and understanding are inseparable from wisdom. [Prov. 1:1-7, 2:6, 3:19-20, etc...] It is through the Holy Spirit that we are enlightened, receiving spiritual knowledge and understanding because it is the Holy Spirit who "interprets spiritual things to those who are spiritual." [1 Cor. 2:14]
The words, "one who is vigilant on His account" echoes the necessity for us to submit ourselves to the Divine Will of God, freely permitting the Holy Spirit to sanctify us in Christ. By persevering in our living faith as true children of God, soon, we will have no more worries for we will rejoice in the eternal glory in the Presence of the Lord. Wisdom tells us, the Holy Spirit seeks those who are worthy of God, those who have a sincerity of heart, those who take their spiritual lives as a serious matter, a matter of eternal life versus eternal death.
And to the sincere, the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through worldly and spiritual signs. He answers prayers. He inspires us in our spiritual growth so that we can reach the Christian maturity that we seek in Christ by the grace of our Heavenly Father. When exhausted, He delivers inner joy and peace to us. He plants a burning desire within our hearts to know God as God knows Himself. He convicts our conscience of sins when we disobey God, gently guiding us in the Spirit of truth and righteousness. Reminding us of the words of Jesus, He tells us to stay alert. [Lk. 21:34] He, the Holy Spirit, Divine Wisdom, is the greatest of all friends that we have and know.
During today's Second Reading from the Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, [1 Thess. 4:13-18] we heard what the Second Coming of Christ will be like. This passage is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted passage in the Holy Bible, having led to Church division and the separations of many from the Spirit of Truth.
In his statement, Saint Paul was addressing the issue of the resurrection of the physical bodies and the glorifying of all those who lived their faith in Christ until the end. He was telling those who were present that those who die first will not be glorified first. In fact, when the moment arrives, the physical bodies of the dead will rise from their graves to be lifted into the clouds alongside those who are presently living. The final judgment of all shall come at the same time, some going to the right and some to the left according to their rewards.
Some religions refer to this passage as the "rapture," a term that the Roman Catholic Church tends to stay away from. The reason for this is that some of our separated brothers and sisters use this term in their belief that Christ will return to raise 144,000 elected ones who will rule with Jesus for 1,000 years on the earth in a physical Kingdom of God.
Such belief opposes the sound teachings of the Holy Catholic Church because the passage in the Second Letter to the Thessalonians is clear, it is the resurrection of all the physical bodies, they being raised alongside the living.
Also, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, makes it clear that the Kingdom of God is spiritual and present here now. Any belief in a secular (worldly) messianism is the deception of the Antichrist. (C.C.C. # 676) Jesus Himself said that His Kingdom "is not of this world." [Jn. 18:36] It is not a physical Kingdom - it is a spiritual Kingdom!
Paul stressed to his brothers and sisters in Christ that he did not want them to be uninformed. Those who are alive today, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. As such, we should encourage one another with these words.
Today's Reading from the Gospel of Matthew [Mt. 25:1-13] reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to us. From the inspired words that the evangelist Saint Matthew wrote, we sense his diligence in spreading the spiritual message that is found in the Word of God. Today's words echo Matthew 7:22-3 where it says, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?" Then Jesus will declare to them, "I never knew you; go away from me, you evil-doers."
From the Gospel Reading, we perceive a number of pictures that echo spiritual meanings. Jesus is the Bridegroom. He descends out of Heaven from God to prepare His Bride, the new Jerusalem that is the invisible spiritual Kingdom of God on earth that is mirrored through the visible Holy Catholic Church. [Rev. 21:2-3] Remember that the Holy Catholic Church had its beginning in Jerusalem [Acts 1:4] on Pentecost Day when the Holy Spirit was given to the Church.
The bridesmaids, that is us. We are God's children who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ and who have been baptised as commanded by Jesus to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit (the new heart, the new human spirit and the indwelling Holy Spirit so we will remember God's laws). We have received our righteousness at Baptism to erase all traces of the original sin and the personal sins that we have committed before our Baptism. And now we enjoy the Sacraments of the Holy Catholic Church, the forgiveness of sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the life of Christ in us through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life.
Each of the aforementioned are necessary steps for us children of God to remain as shining lights in the world, to have spiritual wisdom under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we neglect any of these, even just the Sacraments of Reconciliation or of the Holy Eucharist that gives us our ongoing assurance of God's righteousness that leads to eternal salvation, then, we are like the foolish bridesmaids who did not take any oil with them to ensure that their lamps would continue to shine in the darkness when the Lord Jesus comes unexpectedly at midnight.
To those who neglect their spiritual lives, even by temporarily taking a break to embrace the worldly ways of selfish fame, wealth and pleasures that destroy the soul, should the Lord Jesus call them to Heaven tonight, He will deny them the Kingdom of God because of their spiritual neglect. All are judged according to the sincerity of the heart that he has at the moment of death.
Today's heavenly message calls each and everyone of us to be prepared, to stay awake, because we do not know the day or the hour when we will be summoned to answer before the Lord God. We hear the Lord's call to be wise.
We Catholics are thankful to God the Father for His infinite love that reminds us to be wise in the management of our spiritual lives. We are thankful for the Body of Christ, the Holy Church, where we can find spiritual support from our brothers and sisters so we may all persevere until the end in our spiritual journey as pilgrims. We are thankful for today's message that awakens our awareness to our human weaknesses so we may spiritually mature in Christ to answer our call to become as shining lights in the world. May the grace of God be with all of you this week.