The Happy Priest: Are You Ready for the Lord's Coming?
God is all powerful and he continues to lead all men and women to himself.
For example, many years ago, George Bush, as Vice President, represented our country at the funeral of former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
Bush was deeply moved by a silent protest carried out by Brezhnev's widow. She stood motionless by the coffin until seconds before it was closed. Just as the soldiers touched the lid, Brezhnev's wife performed an act of great hope. She reached down and made the sign of the cross on her husband's chest.
In one of the geographic centers of atheism, the wife of the man who had been one of its' leaders, hoped that her husband was wrong. She hoped that there was an eternal life and that that Jesus might have mercy on her husband (http://www.sermonillustrations.com).
As we continue to reflect upon this past Sunday's gospel passage, some readers of the parable may think that the message is rather cruel.
The wise virgins do not give any of their oil to the foolish virgins, and once the foolish virgins return from buying more oil, the door of the wedding feast is shut and they are not allowed to enter.
This surprising part of the parable illustrates that we cannot enter Heaven on what others have amassed. Personal holiness and fidelity are things that we must acquire for ourselves.
We cannot borrow them from others.
The door not opened to the foolish virgins shows us that life is not a dress rehearsal. Repentance and conversion are to take place in this life.
Death marks a definitive moment in our earthly life.
It is interesting to note how the liturgical year ends with the theme of the Second Coming, while at the same time, the new liturgical year also focuses on the same theme.
If we have already embraced Jesus in his first coming, we will have no fear of his Second Coming.
The wise virgins are ready. As the first reading tells us, wisdom gives us peace. "For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care..." (Wisdom 6: 14).
Wise men and women live in the light of eternity. Living in this manner allows us to experience the indescribable joy and hope of being alive in Christ Jesus, the Lord. "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Matthew 25: 13).
Visit Father James on the web at http://www.fatherjames.org and purchase his new book Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics. Click here for the audio podcast of this homily.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: second coming, death, wise virgins, foolish virgins, Fr James Farfaglia
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