Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
November 12, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.





Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep from us all adversity,
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,
we may pursue in freedom of heart
the things that are yours.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Wis 6:12-16 1 

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 63:2,3-4,5-6,7-8 

R/. My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. R/.

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary
to see your power and your glory,
For your kindness is a greater good than life;
my lips shall glorify you. R/.

Thus will I bless you while I live;
lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name.
As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied,
and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. R/.

I will remember you upon my couch,
and through the night-watches I will meditate on you:
You are my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. R/.

Second Reading 1 Thess 4:13-14   

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

Alleluia Mt 24:42,44 


Gospel Mt 25:1-13 

Jesus told his disciples this parable: "The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.  Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!' But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Catena Nova

What will the next world be like? Once we are within, the Bridegroom knows what he will teach the souls that have entered with him, and how he will be united with them. I believe that he will live with them and teach them yet higher and holier mysteries. May we ourselves have a share in that life: both we who impart this teaching and you who receive it, in Christ himself, our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever. Amen. (St. Gregory Nazianzen)
It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgement. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil…. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water and pour in oil upon it, the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost, if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails” (St Augustine). 
O Lord,
I have heard that you want to give yourself to me
like the real Spouse of my heart and of my life.
I have not experienced it yet,
but if you want to do so with me,
I leave the door of my heart ajar (St. Teresa of Avila).
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth,
Wisely hast shun'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of heav'nly Truth,

The better part with Mary, and with Ruth,
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and truth.
Thy care is fixt and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light,
And Hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastfull friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.  (John Milton)

BEHOLD, the Bridegroom cometh: go ye out
With lighted lamps and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.
It may be at the midnight, black as pitch,
Earth shall cast up her poor, cast up her rich.
It may be at the crowing of the cock
Earth shall upheave her depth, uproot her rock.
For lo, the Bridegroom fetcheth home the Bride:
His Hands are Hands she knows, she knows His Side.
Like pure Rebekah at the appointed place,
Veiled, she unveils her face to meet His Face.
Like great Queen Esther in her triumphing,
She triumphs in the Presence of her King.
His Eyes are as a Dove's, and she's Dove-eyed;
He knows His lovely mirror, sister, Bride.
He speaks with Dove-voice of exceeding love,
And she with love-voice of an answering Dove.
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh: go we out
With lamps ablaze and garlands round about
To meet Him in a rapture with a shout.  (Christina Rossetti)
There were five howling (or scatter-brained) virgins
Who came
To the Wedding of the Lamb
With their disabled motorcycles
And their oil tanks
But since they knew how
To dance
A person says to them
To stay anyhow.
And there you have it,
There were five noisy virgins
Without gas
But looking good
In the traffic of the dance. (but well-involved in the action of the dance)
There were ten virgins
At the Wedding of the Lamb.  (Thomas Merton)

“I have not become as wise
as those five wise Virgins.
… But I have become the most wretched of the foolish ones
by failing to keep some oil for my lamp,
namely, mercy together with virginity
or, still more, the anointing from Baptism’s Sacred fount…

Therefore, the doors of the wedding hall
are closed to me too, in my negligence.
But, O my Bridegroom,
while I am still in my body here below,
listen to my soul, Your Bride…
From now on, I will cry aloud piteously,
“Oh, open to me Your Heavenly Door,
bring me into Your Wedding Chamber on high,
make me worthy of Your Holy Kiss,
Your pure and spotless Embrace.
Oh let me not hear the Voice saying
it does not know me!
I am blind; set alight with Your own Light
my spirit’s extinguished flame!”  (St. Nerses Chnorhali)


"It is women who know how to hope, know how to discover the resources of the church and of the faithful people, who take risks beyond the limit, perhaps with fear but courageously."  So said Pope Francis during last month's Synod (October 25, 2023).  The resources of the church, of course, begin with our belief in God, the God who speaks in the pages of Scripture.   But when we speak about God, our language often lacks the fullness of those resources.  For instance, we almost always use male terms for God, don’t we?  Even where the text of Scripture does not require it and translators simply resort to mere convention.  Failing to take risks beyond the usual limits.  That's the reason the Synthesis Report from last month's synod included among its proposals a "more attentive to the use of language that takes into equal consideration both men and women, and also includes a range of words, images and narratives that draw more widely on women's experience."
Thankfully, the Bible does that.   As in our first reading.  There She is: radiant and unfading ... Wisdom….easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her She who hastens to make herself known to those who desire her She who goes about seeking those worthy of her (I, NREV version). 
And yet, this image of God as “Holy Wisdom” makes but a rare appearance in our thoughts and prayers.  And we’re all the poorer because of it.  For when we limit our picture of God, we force God into a narrow space, a space too cramped for a God infinite and eternal, a God beyond all telling and all knowing, a God who dwells in unapproachable light and forbids us make a graven image.  So we belittle the mystery of God by excluding any one of the many ways Scripture por­trays God: the One for whom our soul is thirsting A soul that shall be satisfied only with the riches of a banquet, and never with a one-course meal (cf. RP).
One person who never leaves us famished or thirsty when it comes to feeding our imagination when it comes to our image of God is Benedictine nun and Doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen — and she often does so precisely through the lens of Wisdom.  Listen to a sample of her own daring discoveries:    
I am Wisdom. Mine is the blast of the resounding Word through which all creation came to be, and I quickened all things with my breath so that not one of them is mortal in its kind; for I am Life. Indeed I am Life, whole and undivided -- not hewn from any stone, or budded from branches, or rooted in virile strength; but all that lives has its root in Me. For Wisdom is the root whose blossom is the resounding Word.... I flame above the beauty of the fields to signify the earth -- the matter from which humanity was made. I shine in the waters to indicate the soul, for, as water suffuses the whole earth, the soul pervades the whole body. I burn in the sun and the moon to denote Wisdom, and the stars are the innumerable words of Wisdom.
She is Divine Wisdom. She watches over all people and all things in heaven and on earth, being of such radiance and brightness that, for the measureless splendor that shines in Her, you cannot gaze on Her face or on the garments She wears. For She is awesome in terror as the Thunderer's lightening, and gentle in goodness as the sunshine. Hence, in Her terror and Her gentleness, She is incomprehensible to mortals, because of the dread radiance of divinity in Her face and the brightness that dwells in Her as the robe of Her beauty. She is like the Sun, which none can contemplate in its blazing face or in the glorious garment of its rays. For She is with all and in all, and of beauty so great in Her mystery that no one could know how sweetly She bears with people, and with what unfathomable mercy She spares them.
Now there is no agreement as to whom exactly such language refers.  My preference is the Holy Spirit.  For the Spirit is the One symbolized by the oil with which we were anointed  at our baptism and confirmation, the oil of divine grace with which our lamps burn ready to greet the Christ who comes when we least expect, the oil of wisdom who strengthens us to be always vigilant for the decisive encounter with the divine Bridegroom, the very Spirit whom we invoke to come upon the gifts of bread and wine, that they may become for us the Sacrament of the wedding feast that awaits us, unhindered in mind and body, in the Kingdom of God. (cf. G, Collect)   

Intercessions (Joe Milner)

For the Church: that we may have a spirit of readiness so that we can respond to God’s presence and invitations at any moment.

For the gift of Wisdom: that God will give us insight and understanding through our daily experiences so that we may value and nurture those things which will sustain us into eternal life.

For the grace of fidelity: that we may faithfully follow Christ each day of our life, acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly before God, and thus keep our light burning until Christ comes.

For Wisdom for our President, for the members of Congress, and for the Supreme Court:  that God will inspire them in their decision making and give them insight into the real causes of the problems before them.

For all who must wait, for those facing surgery, for parents of sick children, for those in prison, for lovers who are separated: that God will strengthen, comfort, and sustain them.

For the poor, the refugees and the malnourished: that God will open supplies for them and our hearts to the needs of all our suffering sisters and brothers.

For all who have experienced violence or terrorism: that God will heal their pain and free them to live life fully.

For understanding of the marvels of creation: that the Spirit will give us wisdom to care for and protect the earth and all it creatures.

For all with terminal illness who are waiting to meet the Lord in death: that they may have courage and hope in God's love for them.

For all who are grieving the death of a loved one: that God will wipe away their tears, be a sustaining presence for them, and heal the pain of separation in their hearts.

Brighten your Church, O God, with the promise of your kingdom and waken our hearts to its light. Bid us hasten with faith undimmed to greet the bridegroom’s return and to enter the wedding feast.  We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn


Wisdom comes from God and with God it shall remain
Like the sand of the seashore or the drops of the rain
Or the days of eternity
Who can number these, who can explore
Heaven's height or the depths of the sea
Before all things were created
Wisdom came to be

The beginning of Wisdom is the awesome fear of God
Which is formed in the faithful in their mother's womb
With devotion from of old
She inebriates with her finest fruit
And fills our house with food
Her garland is the fear of God
Her blossoms peace and good

Communion Antiphon


Behold, the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night,

and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching;

but unworthy is (s)he whom He shall find in slothfulness.

Beware then, O my soul, and be not overcome by sleep,

Lest you be given over to death and shut out of the Kingdom.

But return to soberness and cry aloud:

Holy, holy, holy are You, O God:

through the Birthgiver of God, have mercy upon us.

Closing Hymn


The bridegroom will be coming
in the middle of the night,
And happy will those virgins be
whose lamps are burning bright;
But woe to those dull servants,
whom the Master will surprise
With lamps undimmed, unburning,
and with slumber in their eyes.

Beware, my soul, be watchful,
lest slumber bring you down
And in the sleep of death you fall,
to lose the golden crown.
But stay awake, be sober,
with a watchful eye; and thus
Cry "Holy, holy, holy God!
Have mercy upon us!"

That day, the day of fear, will come;
my soul, persist in toil,
So light your lamp and feed it well
and make it bright with oil.
For no one knows how soon may sound
the cry at eventide:
"Behold, the Bridegroom comes! Arise!
Go out to meet the bride!"

Beware, my soul, beware, beware,
lest deep in sleep you lie
And, like the Five, remain outside,
and knock and vainly cry.
But watch and keep your lamp undimmed,
and so with Christ put on
The glorious wedding robe of light,
the glory of the Son!