Friday, 26 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are presented with the need for each and every one of us as Christians to be dedicated to God in all things, and all of us should always trust in the wisdom of God and in His truth, His path and guidance rather than to follow the path of the world or any sorts of worldly means or solutions. All of us are called to be ever prepared and vigilant lest we allow ourselves to be deluded and misled by worldly temptations and false guides. We have to heed the words of today’s Scriptures that we may choose the right path forward in life.

In our first reading today, we listened from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful people of God in Corinth, speaking to us regarding the matter of human wisdom versus God’s wisdom and truth. St. Paul elaborated how the wisdom of God far surpassed the wisdom of mankind, and how the truth and wisdom of God might be seen by man as a form of foolishness, and man by their own conventional way of thinking and wisdom may find the teachings of the Lord, His way and truth as foolishness. And yet, it is by seeking that truth alone and by putting our faith in God alone that we may find the path to eternal life and true joy.

Why is the wisdom and ways of the Lord be considered as folly by mankind? That is because the Lord’s actions, in Him reaching out to us all, flawed as we were, and showing His love, compassion and mercy might be seen as weakness by some who valued legalistic viewpoints such as that those who have erred ought to suffer punishments for their errors without forgiveness or chance of repentance. Then, when He chose to come into our world, being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, assuming our humble existence, then that became a source of even greater confusion and consternation by those who kept the wisdom of man.

For the Jews, as we heard St. Paul saying, it was a great scandal, because Christ did not just mention that He is the Son of God Most High, the Saviour of the world, but more importantly, through His crucifixion and death on that Cross, He had suffered the most humiliating and painful death, at the hands of His enemies. By any conventional Jewish understanding and wisdom, such an event would have been utterly unbelievable and disheartening, as they had considered and thought the Messiah as the Mighty One that God would send their way to lead them in a great victory against their enemies and restore the kingdom of Israel.

On the other hand, for the Greeks, the notion of God being incarnate as Man would not have been very strange, as in their own pantheon and mythology, the gods often came down to the world disguising themselves and posing as man. However, what would have also befuddled and confused them is the same fact that this God came willingly to offer His own life, to suffer and die for the sake of mere mankind. That is something that the Greek gods and pantheon would not have done at all. Yet, that was exactly what the Lord had done, by His suffering and death on the Cross, for the sake of our redemption and salvation.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the story or parable of the five wise and five foolish maidens, which we may be quite familiar with. Those five wise maidens had backup oil with them together with their oil lamps while they were waiting for the coming of the bridegroom for a late night wedding celebration while the five foolish maidens were bringing with them just enough oil for their lamps, without any backup. Through what we heard regarding this story of the five wise and five foolish maidens, we can clearly see the Lord’s intentions in reminding all of us, His faithful disciples, that we cannot be idle and we have to be ever vigilant in living our lives with faith.

And we have to entrust ourselves in God’s wisdom and providence, and do our best to live our lives in the most worthy, Christian manner. That is because if we follow the ways of the world, and put our trust in our own human wisdom and strength, then we are likely to fall into the wrong path, of self-delusion and self-aggrandisement, which will prevent us from realising that we may be wrong in what we do. Unfortunately, it is quite often that we mankind prefer to follow our own ways and satisfy our own desires and wants, and as a result, we end up doing things that are contrary to the way of the Lord, and we end up choosing the wrong actions that causing us to be more and more distant from God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore dedicate ourselves and our time, our effort and our whole being to God, and entrusting ourselves to His wisdom and guidance. Let us all turn towards Him with faith, and let us allow God to guide us in our journey of faith so that hopefully we may always be true to Him and be committed to His path at all times. Let us all be wise and be filled with the wisdom of God like that of the five wise women in the parable, and not be like the five foolish women and all those who refused to trust in the Lord. May God empower each one of us to walk in His path and to embark on this journey of faith, now and always, to the end of our days and everlasting life with Him. Amen.

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