First Reading: Wisdom 6:12-16
The excerpt that serves as the first reading in this Sunday praises wisdom. As in other wisdom books, for example Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified as a woman and is swiftly routed by all who seek her as she seeks those who are worthy of her (v.16). It must be borne in mind that the wise man in the Bible is not to be confused with the holder of higher scientific education or knowledge, but with the prudent man, the one who fears God and knows how to distinguish the right hand from the left, hence he seeks wisdom precisely while it seeks him, that is, wisdom is not hidden from those who prefer it to other goods, as did Solomon, the wise man par excellence (1 Kings 3:9; 5:9ff).
Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
In the month which the whole Church dedicates to prayer for the dead, the Liturgy of the Word through St. Paul, which, using the literary genre known in the Greco-Roman world as “letters of consolation”, responds to themes as ancient as they are current: about the last times and the fate of our loved ones. It is a passage inserted into a broader unity (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11). In the first part of this unit, which is the very object of our reflection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we speak of the fate of those who died before the Parousia, designated with a metaphor of faith as “those who sleep”; in the second part (5:1-11), the theme of the “Lord’s Day” and the consequences for the lifestyle of Christians are discussed. The writing revolves around 3 objectives: first, to combat the possible ignorance of the brethren (1 Thessalonians 4:13), thus endowing them with that wisdom that was already instilled in the First Reading. The second objective is to share the hope that flows from faith in the Risen One (4:14), against the background of the third objective, the consolation of one another, expressed in Greek in the following way: parakaleite allêlous, with the words of faith.
In the face of the pain that death causes, the Christian must excel not in discouragement or despair, but in hope, thus being a herald of hope.
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
Already at the end of the Gospel according to Matthew and towards the end of the liturgical year, the eschatological themes come to the fore. After speaking of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32) and the prudent servant (Matthew 24:45), Jesus here compares the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins, a unique case in the whole NT. The virgins are divided into mōrai, foolish, and phronimoi, prudent. Here one can see the relation of this theme to the wisdom of the first reading and the fight against ignorance in the second reading. Also eloquent is the relationship between the passage we are meditating on and Matthew 7:21-22 where, following the example of the foolish virgins, many will cry out ‘Lord, Lord!’ and the Lord will tell them that he does not know them, for the kingdom of heaven is not for those who merely repeat the name of the Lord in vain, but for those who do the will of the Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
The message of this 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time invites us to wait vigilantly, with living faith.