8 November 2020
“For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care.” -Wisdom 6:15
Brothers and Sisters,
Many of us are exhausted from the pandemic’s impact and what has been an incredibly divisive election season. Though difficult, let’s take a minute to consider the different challenges we all face and resolve to meet one another with understanding and compassion. I have found that when I focus on praise and gratitude, I can recalibrate my thoughts and actions to be centered on Christ. So as we prepare for Thanksgiving, let’s take time each day to recognize the endless blessings and graces God so lovingly bestows upon us. May our simple commitment to give thanks and praise to God not only refocus our lives on our Father’s unfailing love but lift our spirits as well.
Speaking of blessings, despite our current health crisis, many have gathered safely while practicing social distancing and “masking-up” to celebrate life-affirming events like weddings. And when geography has kept family members apart, technology has allowed them to join the celebration too. As an attendee and as a presiding Priest, I have witnessed many weddings. Regardless of size or location, one thing endures for all weddings, the most anticipated moment of every guest, family member, and of course, the groom is witnessing the bride’s entrance. Even despite wedding procession fanfare and at times the distraction of a precocious flower girl or ring bearer, every neck cranes to catch that first glimpse as the bride steps out in her lovely dress. The groom seems to get the raw end of the deal when it comes to the wedding spotlight, but I’ve found, most are all too eager to relinquish the attention to their brides and relieve some of the pressure on themselves.
Today’s Gospel, known as the parable of the ten virgins, is among the last of Jesus’ teachings before his passion and offers a different wedding perspective. Eager anticipation and preparations were not expectations of the bride but for that of the groom. In biblical times, a Jewish wedding began in the evening, and after spending time with the bride, the bridesmaids would excitedly exit to meet the bridegroom and bring him to his betrothed. These young ladies would dance through the streets with lit torches lighting the way to the wedding feast, enabling the greater community to gather and witness the groom with his bride. Though set in joyful circumstances, the story emphasizes the importance of prudence and preparedness. The virgins who were prudent and prepared signify good works as symbolized by their sufficient oil, an association Jesus has made between the lamp that shines before all and good works (Matt 5:15-16). Jesus reminds us that as His followers, we should not hold off on completing good deeds or “works” or wait for a time that’s more convenient for our busy lives. You might be asking yourself, well, why didn’t the prepared virgins help by sharing their oil with the remaining five when asked? Ultimately, our good works cannot be credited to others who have not shared in these acts of kindness. Also, our good works not only satisfy the physical need, but they serve to help others encounter the Lord. Like the torch flames carried by the bridesmaids, our good deeds light the groom’s path, who is eager to engage his people, his bride.
We are reminded of the power of prudence in our first reading from the Book of Wisdom, as well. This virtue isn’t merely about having good business skills; prudence has as its goal wisdom. And wisdom is not about acquiring random knowledge but is grounded in an appreciation of God and his will. A wise and prudent person lives in connection with God’s desire for his or her life and goes BEYOND by leading others on the path of discipleship!
May the Holy Spirit continue to pour forth the gift of Wisdom upon our parish community and our wider world as we seek to conform to God’s will!
- Some of the key considerations for this week:
▪ “Sign up” for Mass for November 14-15; register here.
▪ Thank you for our families who are creatively engaging with our charitable works. As we approach Thanksgiving, we are grateful to our St. Vincent de Paul Society and their aid in assuring families will have a good Thanksgiving meal, for our SALT who continues to provide lunches for many hungry mouths in Baltimore, for contributors to our “online” baby bottle fundraiser and those preparing casseroles for Our Daily Bread. While our requests may be more specific this year to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our donors, our volunteers, our partners, and our recipients of the generosity, the need still exists.
- Our annual Advent Giving Tree launches this weekend, but with an online donation – check out details next weekend. Thanks for helping to shed a bit more light in a dark time.
▪ Our Pastoral Care director, Christa Weyant, will lead a webinar, Coping with Anxiety. This free webinar through Zoom will be on Monday, November 23, at 7 pm. Email Christa at Christa.Weyant@archbalt.org to register.
▪ Next weekend, I will preach at all masses and share oue Parish Annual Report while offering thanks for the many ways you have supported our parish community. I look forward to partnering with you to continue the great works of our parish and to further our formation as disciples of Jesus Christ. With deep gratitude for all the prayers you offered for the parish and one another in these challenging times.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett