November 8, 2020 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/110820.cfm)
“Last two minutes”. Usually in a basketball game, the last two minutes is scheduled as “Time-out” for both teams. At that moment, the game is paused for a minute break to allow both teams to assess their situation in view of the coming end-game. This is the chance for both teams to have a wider look on where they are and how they fair at that period of the game. It is an opportunity for teams to have a reality-check in terms of their strengths and weaknesses as well as of the possible opportunities and threats at this stage of the game, in view of plotting a game-plan strategy for the end-game. The “last two-minutes time-out” of the basketball game is thus an occasion for each team to consider at the last two minutes of the game their resources and limitations in relation to their aspired goal and end-game and their remaining game-plan.
Just recently early this month of November, our observance and celebration of All Saints Day and All Souls Day respectively may have been also “a last two-minutes time out” occasion for us, Christians. As we prayed for the eternal repose of our saintly and beloved dead brothers and sisters, we may have also slowed down, have a pause and break from our busy schedules in order to consider not only the death and lives of those who have gone before us, but also our own lives so-far now as we are still in this life. Yes, as we considered the lives of those who have gone before us these days, we are also confronted with the reality of the mortality of our very lives now as we are still alive living here. Like the last two minutes time-out in a basketball game, the last two months of the year can be a chance for us to consider where and how we are in our lives in relation to our game in life – our dreams and aspirations as well as what we are to do to improve our lives now for the better, and above all in relation to our salvation.
Behind the story of the five wise and five foolish virgins in our gospel today is the call for us to be vigilant and ready. Jesus wants us to be Wise enough to be prepared and awake, and not to be foolish enough to be not ready and unaware. When we hear this challenge, many people think that they have to be ready for death so as not to be caught unaware. Rightly so, because when we came into the world, death has become natural to us. We know that no man lives forever in this world. Death is our lot, and reminds us of how limited our life is. We have only one life, lived in a given time. And it is wise enough to be prepared for our coming death.
However, much more than our coming death are meant in our gospel today. Our gospel today is all about how ready and prepared are we to meet and experience the Lord IN our lives here and now, and not in our coming death later. In other words, the challenge of Jesus for us to be wise enough to be vigilant and ready is for Here and Now while we are still living, and not for There and Later on our death. Thus, the readiness and vigilance we are to be is not in view of our end – our death, but as to how we have lived and spent our life so-far here and now as we meet and encounter the Lord in our daily lives.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “When you were born you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you are the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying”. True enough, in our death, we wish to be remembered not how we died, but how we live our lives to the fullness with the Lord. It is not the end-game itself – the Winning or Losing but about the GAME itself – How we lived our lives and play our game with the Lord in life, that matters most.
As we are still living in this world now – most especially during this pandemic times, we have yet to learn how to be wise & street-smart enough to be aware and ready to meet the Lord now in the many ways he comes to us. He is the “Word of God made flesh”, the God with Us, our companion in the journey of life, who lives with Us. Blessed then are those who are ready and alert to Welcome the Lord in our lives, not in our death. So, Are you ready now? Handa ka na ba?
On our “last two-minutes time-out” moment, we pray that we may be wisely awake and cleverly prepared enough to welcome Him in our lives now as we meet Him in our church, our brothers & sisters, our fellowmen and others, in our day to day lives. Amen.