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Contents: Volume 2 - 32nd SUNDAY (A)
 - November 8, 2020





1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP
2. -- Carol & Dennis Keller
3. -- Brian Gleeson CP
4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ
5. --(Your reflection can be here!)

Sun. 32 A

As time progresses in our liturgical year and in our chronological lives, it is timely that our readings point out several important things. Our first reading reminds us that, although we are the children of a God of second /multiple chances, we do need to seek Wisdom during our lifetime so that we will be able to make decisions that are for our spiritual good. Our Gospel account predicts the dire consequences of those who act foolishly and do not think ahead about the afterlife.

So very much has been going on these past few weeks in the United States, especially rising pandemic cases, a contentious presidential election, and emergencies like uncontrolled fires and damaging hurricanes. Most people are just reeling with uncertainty. One thing is absolutely sure, each one of us will die someday. While that is not a pleasant thought at present, it is the universal reality for us all. How we live our lives truly matters.

Seeking Wisdom sounds like a great candidate for the first thing on anyone's "to do" list! Where is it that each of us needs to seek more Wisdom? Ah, to be "free from care" because we already know the right thing to do! Sounds glorious!!!

As we try to bounce back into or at least look forward to a more normal pattern of life, let us reflect on what we need to change to make our life now and in the hereafter better. Perhaps prayerfully examining the relationships in our personal life, our relationships with friends, in our work, our community, and our parishes will give us some insight. Insight is the first step toward Wisdom.

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP
Southern Dominican Laity

Thirty Second Sunday of Ordered Time November 8, 2020


Wisdom 6:12-16; Responsorial Psalm 63; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18; Gospel Acclamation Matthew 24:42, 44; Matthew 25:1-18

We are coming to the end of the liturgical year dominated by the gospel of Matthew. As the story comes to a shocking conclusion – the apparent failure of the ministry of Jesus by the full and condemnatory efforts of both religious and civil authorities – there is something else that comes to our consciousness. During Jesus’ ministry he wandered through the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. He healed those pushed to the edges of community. Because of that healing, society itself became more complete. Those rejected returned bringing their talents, their skills, their insights, and their unique character to bear on the community. His teaching insists each individual is a person worthy of dignity, acceptance, and appreciation. Relationships in communities formed by Jesus’ words and works were noteworthy. They are based on appreciation of the other, an acceptance of the other, and a compassion and empathy toward all humanity. How contrary to traditions and norms of pagan society! Wealth, power, and popularity are thrown onto a garbage heap, replaced by unconditioned love, compassion, and empathy. The effect of his teaching, in those days long ago and in the history of faith since then -- even in our so contentious and combative relationships of today – began a change in humanity’s values and character.

However wonderful the feelings his healing, teaching, and revelation of the power and life of God, there continued terrible wars, thieves and charlatans in power, a miserly hoarding by the wealthy, and a worshipping of fame by persons self-doubting their worth. It seems as a people we have failed to learn the truth of Jesus. Even though faith makes us whole, faith supports a lifestyle of compassion and mercy, and faith turns us from pursuit of wealth, power, and fame we continually stumble and fall to the wiles of the world’s way.

What makes our falling so terrible is death itself. If death is the end of all there is, then our commitment to power, wealth, and fame is an ethereal, vaporous treasure. Yet we, each of us in our own way, pursue that triumvirate of disaster. We fall in line with the way of the world. Yet, in death that triumvirate of seduction is without staying power. Only love is the final arbiter of a life well lived.

In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, we are reminded that Jesus transformed death itself into life. The miracles of Jesus – back then and even now in the midst of a pandemic that is out of control – sought to bring everyone into full participation in community. His teaching insists the community’s foundation is rooted in the life of God and has as its objective a sharing in the eternal life of God. That is something that never ends, where death is no more, where tears are wiped away with the healing hands of the Trinity. The Thessalonians knew Jesus rose from the tomb but felt his resurrection could only be applied to those who still living on the earth when Jesus returned. Like all persons who love others, the death of them is a source of grief and continual pain and longing. This early Christian community worried about those who had died – what of them? They were dead. How could they share in the resurrection of the Lord when he came to collect the faithful to himself? They, like most of the early Christian communities, believed Jesus would come “any day now! Be ready to welcome him! Come Lord Jesus, Come!” Even Paul in his early preaching and letter writing seems to believe Jesus was coming today, well maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next month. In this letter to the Thessalonians, Paul insists all persons will be called from the grave and brought into an intimate union with the Lord. No one would be left in the grave, forgotten, lost, and unloved.

As we come to the end of the agricultural year, the time of harvest, as we come to the point of gathering in, we are reminded that life is a cycle. There is a time of birth, a time of growth, a time of decline, and a time of return to the source of life. We should remember we are not destined to oblivion as the pagans and their philosophers and writers thought. There is a permanence that the giver of life has stamped on our individuality. And just as the sick, the infirm, those challenged by mental, physical, or spiritual disease are needed by human society for its fullness, so also all persons are necessary to be returned to the source of life. Otherwise God’s harvest would be incomplete with grain left in the fields.

Some faith traditions consider this passage from Thessalonians as proof that when Armageddon comes the elect will be lifted above the earth to observe the working of God’s wrath on deviates, sinners, violators of the law of God. For those who come to know God in the relationships and moments of their living, this is pretty silly. For those who experience God, there is the realization that God is of love and not wrath. In the freedom for growth implanted in the human person, God stands by to support, to inspire, and to lift us up when we fall into the slime and muck of our own bad decisions, the machinations of evil, and the incompleteness of nature. God is with us – that is the meaning of the name with which God described himself to Moses in the incident of the burning bush.

That brings us to the gospel. How difficult for us to understand! When we commit to a relationship with another human in marriage, we send out “save the date” notes announcing the date of our commitment. We plan, we rent a hall, contract with catering, enlist a DJ or a band for festive music for dancing. In the gospel this Sunday, we get a sense of lack of planning on the part of the groom. How should we understand this story of the five wise contrasted with the five foolish virgins? How is this like the Kingdom of Heaven? If we take the last question first, the answer is fairly direct. Not everyone will be allowed in when the bridegroom comes. It will depend on how individuals prepare for his coming. That coming will be in two stages, the first is when we individually return the gift of life to the Creator. The second is when all life – living and not living - is returned to the Creator in the Second Coming of the Lord. That is when death itself is totally eradicated. Well, perhaps the second death will capture those whose “oil vessels are empty.” Those whose persons/characters lack the fire of God’s life within.

But the delay of the bridegroom – what is that all about? In the time of Jesus’ earthly life, the prospective bridegroom would negotiate with the father of the bride for her dowry. Daughters were the responsibility of the father. With marriage the well being of the daughter was transferred to the husband. An important part of that arrangement was the dowry which was helpful in establishing a new household. So, the delay could easily have been due to haggling between father and prospective groom. Such negotiations could easily have become protracted, thus lacking a precise scheduling. In this parable, Jesus tells us we will not know when he, Jesus, is coming to claim his bride.

We think of this unexpected return of Jesus in three ways. The first and the one tradition thinks of as terror – a true Dies Irae, Dies Illa (Oh Day of Wrath, Oh Day of Mourning) – is the end of time – well time as we now know it. That terrible day has been used by some wishing to convert sinners through fear of damnation. The second way for the return of Jesus is our own death. While there is greater control over the length of our days now than in the past, there is still a clear uncertainty about when we make that final and eternal journey. Being prepared to meet God face to face can be a positive motivation for growing in love of God or it can be motivation based on fear, especially of that great unknown. The third way of Jesus’ return is one we rarely think of. That return is a repeated return. It is a “hound of heaven” return that constantly calls us to respond to our environment, our relationships, and what we strive to be in this world. In all the events, in all the meetings, in all the pains, in all the joys of life, Jesus is present to us through the Advocate, through the Spirit of God – that mysterious and often forgotten third person in the One God. In the letter to the Hebrews chapter 3, verse 15 we hear: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” That is the third way of Jesus’ return. It is this return that forms us, that grows our persons, the character, the face with which we appear to the world and to those we encounter. If we live according to this way of the Bridegroom’s return, then we will join in the singing, the dancing, the feasting, and the grand uplifting joy and peace. We ought to heed the admonition of Jesus this Sunday and be prepared for this continuous return. Let us be awake, with our lamps filled with the oil of God’s love and compassion, with our wicks trimmed and functionally lighting up the world and all we encounter. Let us truly be Christian. Let us understand that the search for power, wealth, and fame are illusions of the evil that exists and would trap and drown us in its tentacles. Peace and joy flood those who love God and their neighbors and reach out for them with mercy, compassion, and appreciation for what God has made.

Carol & Dennis Keller


How have you prepared, or how would you prepare, for any or all of the following:

- An exam?
- A job interview?
- A wedding?
- The birth of a baby?
- Raising a family?
- Your death and final destiny?

‘Stay awake,’ says Jesus, ‘because you do not know either the day or the hour’
(Matthew 25:13)


A class of final year High School Students was preparing to sit for their final exams. The results would determine whether they would be accepted for university, and which university would take them. A bunch of the brightest students decided they would romp it in. So, they went out and partied every night before every exam. The rest of the class did not go to any parties at all and kept studying right up to the last minute. When the results were published, many in the last group did just as well as those who went out partying. Some of the brilliant ones, in fact, missed out getting into uni altogether. Their lamps, the lamps of their minds, went out at the critical times, just like with five of the ten bridesmaids in the story Jesus told us.

Of course, the point of my story is not exactly about the importance of exams, but the importance of being ready. Being ready, being prepared, when Jesus Christ, representing the God of surprises, offers us precious opportunities of one kind or another! So too the point of the story Jesus told, is not really about ancient wedding customs or rescuing silly people from their own mistakes, or even staying awake at night. His point is specifically about being prepared, being alert for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives at any time, and about being ready to welcome him whenever he comes, even though we do not know in advance either the day or the hour or the form of his arrival. Will we hear his voice when he speaks to us in the plight of a stranger close by, in the pain of a family member, or in the need of a colleague in the factory or the office, the classroom or the hospital ward?

A man phones the priest to say that his 45-year-old neighbour and friend has just dropped dead jogging. He leaves behind his adoring wife, two small children, and dozens of family friends. A fit athletic person never expects that a late afternoon run will be the very last thing he does in his life. One hopes that his lamp of faith was still burning inside him, that he wasn’t putting off the word he needed to speak - a word of love to some of the people in his life, and a word of forgiveness to others. One hopes that he had made good and wise choices in his life, and that he took seriously the standards of Jesus for facing the judgment of God. One hopes that people would say and God would acknowledge, that he was a man of compassion, who helped his neighbours, who reached into his wallet to feed the hungry and clothe the destitute, and who went out of his way to visit sick people or prisoners.

A holy old monk was sweeping up the fallen leaves in the monastery garden when a visitor asked him: ‘What would you do, Brother, if you knew you were to die in ten minutes?’ The old monk replied: ‘I’d keep on sweeping.’ How wise and sensible!

No doubt we’ve all heard the slogan ‘Carpe diem’ - ‘Seize the day!’, in the sense of taking every chance to do good rather than hurt or harm anyone or anything in any way. (That, incidentally, includes the environment, God’s precious gift of creation that day after day is being terribly wounded and degraded by human greed and stupidity). ‘Seize the day, and the hour, and the moment’ is surely what Jesus is saying, and you won’t find the door to life slammed in your faces, the way it happened to those silly giggly bridesmaids, who turned up at the wedding breakfast quite unprepared.

The story Jesus told about having our lamps blazing with light reminds us that the words of dismissal at the end of Mass, ‘Go in peace to love and serve the Lord’ or equivalent, are all about going out from Mass to make a better world, both by loving our God and loving our fellow human beings in all situations, be they easy or difficult, be they convenient or inconvenient.

Let’s think and pray, then, about the message to us from Jesus today, about expecting the unexpected, with our lamps of faith, hope and love fully ablaze!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <

Year A: 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Remembrance Sunday)


“Stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.”


Whenever there arises any question of the morality or otherwise of war, I always feel that it’s quite a good idea to ask first the opinion of those men – and it is mostly men – who in the event of war will stand in the front line and be the first either to die or to kill in the cause - the people who, to use the modern expression, have the most skin in the game. Ernest was one such man.

When I met him, many years ago, Ernest was a small man, diminished in his age, and he did not much trouble the atmosphere of the Parish Justice and Peace Group. But he followed attentively the fierce and caricatured debate of the spiky red-haired young woman for whom all war is unutterable evil and the self-important young man in blue who contended that some wars were necessary to counter evil when all other forms of persuasion have failed. We were joined by the ghosts of men we have never met - Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao-tse-Tung, Marx, - and by the mention of far-away places where we have never been – the Falklands, Rwanda, Bosnia, the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan - and Passchendaele, where (the spiky red-head tells us) thousands of men died young for causes they did not understand in territory neither side really wished to hold, but only to deny to the other.

Then Ernest said, very softly, “I remember Passchendaele.”
And began to weep.
And suddenly with us in the room was the silence of a hundred thousand graves.
And we knew ourselves in the presence of a man who knew whereof he spoke.

He did not speak long – just of the school friends who, as the spiky red-head had said, knew only the crude simplicities of the cause for which they died. But, as the man in the blue corner had said, they had the courage to put their bodies in harm’s way against the apparent evil of their day - for Home and Hearth, rather than King or Kaiser. For dead men have no nationality.

He claimed no final answers – no timeless Truths. Even he could not tell us whether or not his friends had died in vain. But he taught us with authority and not like our scribes.

But what of our scribes? Well, as I was walking home, I noticed on the road in front of me the spiky red-head and the young man in blue walking together and still apparently talking to one another. There seemed a connection between them. It was dark and I was too far away to be sure, but I could swear they were holding hands.

Let us stand and profess our Faith in God’s Peace.

Paul O'Reilly SJ <>

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