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Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

11 November 2023

Reflecting on Matthew 25: 1-13

Here’s the thing about parables: you can’t look to the right or the left. You have to stare straight down the middle, to the point of the parable, and not obsess about, for example, why it’s GOOD that the bridesmaids with enough oil withheld the needed oil from the others, hence causing them to be left forlornly out in the cold.

I’ve wondered about those five bridesmaids who refused to share their oil quite a lot. Could they enjoy the wedding feast, knowing that their “foolish” friends would not be coming? Did they miss their friends, and regret not finding creative ways to share the oil so they all could gain admittance?

I remember that good feeling of sharing, in grade school, my sandwich (and COOKIES!) with a friend who forgot her lunch. And OF COURSE I was more often the receiver of that kindness than the giver. So this parable hits a nerve.

While we’re at it, what about that guy who finds a huge treasure in his neighbor’s field, hides the treasure, then sells all that he has to buy the field, so he can “find” the treasure on it (Matt. 13:44)? Stare straight ahead, don’t look at the glaring ethical problem there. The point of the parable is similar to the point of today’s parable: the kingdom of heaven requires absolute single-heartedness. Sell what you have, keep your oil lamp lit, don’t let anything distract or deter you from obtaining heaven.

Don’t make parables walk on four legs, advises theologian Randy Alcorn. In other words, don’t make them do more than they are made to do. Oh, and do everything to be happy with God in heaven.

What single-heartedness do you practice in order to go to heaven?

Kathy McGovern ©2023

Ordinary Time - Cycle A

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