The Fire of Christ

(November 8, 2020)

Bottom line: Like the virgins in todays Gospel, we will face judgment - whether or not we have oil - the Fire of Christ burning in our souls.

During the month of November we pray for our departed loved ones. The names of many are in the vase by the statue of Mary. It's a good time to visit the graves of loved ones. I was proud of our youth who did the clean-up project at the Monroe Cemetery.

As we pray for departed loved ones, we reflect on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Perhaps you saw the news that one of our parishioners, Cathy Lenac, saw a powerful case of judgment. Forty-eight years ago she happened on a young girl who had been violated and left to die. She and her friend rushed Jodi to the hospital. Although the doctors tried to save her, it was too late. They never caught the perpetrator, but a year ago detectives used a DNA sample to trace the man down. The man will finally confront his crime and receive justice.

From this case we see that although in this world justice is imperfect (to say the least.) we humans continue to long for justice. Pope Benedict observed: "the question of justice constitutes the essential argument - or in any case the strongest argument - in favor of faith in eternal life." God alone can bring the justice we desire. And we should note that God does have your and my DNA - that is, he knows our inner core.

The readings for November speak about judgment and eternal life. Today we see it in the parable of the ten virgins. The bridegroom (Jesus) judges them on whether they took steps to have oil for their lamps. Symeon the New Theologian observed that the purpose of oil in a lamp is to produce fire. If our lamps are empty, we cannot have the fire of Christ burning in our hearts. Our salvation belongs to Christ, but we have to cooperate with his grace. The wise virgins do not share their oil with foolish, not because they are selfish, but because each one has to get their own oil. I cannot save you. You have to accept Jesus and allow his fire to burn in your heart. As we saw last week, this happens through the sacraments.

Like the virgins in todays Gospel, we will face judgment - whether or not we have oil - the Fire of Christ burning in our souls. The fire of Christ keeps us alert - awake to the coming judgment. "stay awake," Jesus says, "for you know neither the day nor the hour." God will judge us on how we administer his free grace - his gifts of time, abilities and resources. With that in mind, please give your attention to this video on Stewardship.

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Spanish version (Word document)

From Archives (for Thirty-Second Ordinary Sunday, Year A):

2017: How to Have Oil for Your Lamp
2011: The Rapture
2005: Why They Did Not Share
2002: Is Salvation Guaranteed?

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album

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MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

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