Today’s Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 63, is often used as the first psalm in Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. It expresses the sentiment with which believers should begin each day—looking forward to whatever God has in store. Note that today’s Second Reading and Gospel draw our attention to the life of the world to come and the union with God that we hope to experience when we pass from this world to the next. So, if we begin each day with a longing for union with God, we will be like the wise virgins in today’s Gospel, ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes to welcome us into his heavenly wedding banquet.
We have entered the final weeks of the liturgical year. The biblical readings during this time teach about the end of earthly life, judgment, resurrection and heaven. In today’s Second Reading Saint Paul teaches about the resurrection of the dead on the last day. On that day the bodies of all who have died will be raised up to share in our eternal destiny. When he wrote his first letter to the Thessalonians—believed to be the oldest of the epistles in the New Testament—Saint Paul believed that the Lord’s return in glory would occur in his lifetime. Members of the Thessalonian community were worried about fellow Christians who had died. Would they miss the Lord’s return? Paul assures them that all the dead will be raised and they, along with those who are living, will be “caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Eventually Saint Paul would realize that the Lord’s return might not be in his lifetime and he prepared for his own death. Nevertheless his vision of the last day remains the Church’s faith, as we profess our belief in “the resurrection of the body” in the Apostles’ Creed.
With this view in mind today’s Gospel invites us to imitate the five wise virgins in being ready to welcome Jesus, the Bridegroom, whenever he should come. Whether this means his final return in glory or his coming to us at the time of our death makes no difference. Our longing to be with him will fill us with joy, if our lamps are fueled with the oil of sanctifying grace, replenished by frequent reception of the sacraments, especially penance and the eucharist. Faith is the wisdom in whose light we keep a lifelong vigil for the coming of the Lord.
Yesterday was Veterans Day. Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans: that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day celebrated in other countries, that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. The purpose of Veterans Day is to honor all of America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Thanks to the many veterans in our parishes and community who have served in our country’s armed forces.
Continue to pray the rosary this week for the souls in purgatory. Pray for the innocent victims of recent acts of violence. Pray for those from our area serving in the armed forces and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.