FIRST READING (Wisdom is found by those who seek her.)

A reading from the Book of Wisdom (6:12-16)

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude. —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.


RESPONSORIAL PSALM (63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8)

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God. (Ps 63:2b)

O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water. (R)

Thus have I gazed toward you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory, for your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you. (R)

Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name. As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. (R)

I will remember you upon my couch, and through the night-watches I will meditate on you: you are my help, and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy. (R)


(Long Form)

SECOND READING (God, through Jesus, will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.)

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians (4:13–18)

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words. —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.


(Short Form)

SECOND READING (God, through Jesus, will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.)

A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians (4:13–14)

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. —The Word of the Lord.

R. Thanks be to God.



R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (R)


GOSPEL (Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (25:1-13)

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” —The Gospel of the Lord.

R.  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

“Be Prepared!” 


When I grew up, the motto of the Boy Scouts was “Be prepared!” The whole purpose of all the training and exercises we underwent as scouts was to “be prepared” for any emergency, any contingency. This could also be the motto for “bridesmaids” at the time of Christ and this parable.

Being excluded from a wedding at that time could be a real tragedy. For the five unprepared ones, being left outside meant they would lose the chance to meet and mix with eligible bachelors, because such bridal receptions were the only acceptable place to meet others. Being left out diminished a young woman’s chances of marrying soon. But the deeper point of the parable for us is that WE can be shut out of the Kingdom. And so Jesus warns us to be prepared and always ready for the return of the Master.

At the center of this parable is the oil. Oil is a vital part of human life then and even now. We use oil in vehicles, we use it for cooking and we use it for repairs and maintenance of tools. It is medicinal, it protects the body like sunscreen and is use for painting and for lamplight. The Church uses oil in four of the seven sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination and Sacrament of the Sick. Oil represents the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the strengthening, healing and enlightening power of the Spirit.

The tragedy of the parable is that five of the bridesmaids ran out of oil. They ahd beautiful containers, magnificent lamps, but their vessels were empty. The oil ran out. That’s where the parable touches us. Have we run out of oil, the strengthening of God’s grace in our life? The “oil” of grace enables us to easily speak with God in prayer, to maintain a sense of our spiritual dignity no matter what people may do or say to us, and to live our life according to the Gospel rather than be manipulated by popular culture.

Our oil can run out through neglect when, for example, we don’t replenish our spiritual life, when we only go through the motions of prayer rather than truly be communicating with God. A crisis comes and we are not prepared. We can be like the five bridesmaids with beautiful vessels – great in appearance – but running on empty. Our spiritual life, our soul is dry. The oil has run out.

We all were filled with oil at our Baptism, at our Confirmation, and at our Marriage or Ordination. Grace flowed freely through us. But as time moves on, something always comes up to prevent us from replenishing the oil through prayer and the sacraments… and we are running on empty. We can run out of oil and empty our soul of spiritual life and vitality.

There are some things we can’t borrow from others, which is the point of the five wise virgins not helping the five foolish ones. We cannot borrow someone else’s faith, someone else’s grace, someone else’s spirituality. We are responsible before God for our own spiritual condition, what we have done with the oil that has been given to us. We can blame the world for many things but not for the state of our soul. That is entirely up to use.

Are we prepared for the Master’s return? November is a time when the Church focuses on death – not to be morbid but to be wise and to focus on what is important. We prepare for ETERNITY by how we live here and now. A device retreat masters once used in the past was to ask those on retreat to imagine yourself writing your own obituary. What would we say were our greatest accomplishments, our greatest loyalties? To whom were we truly faithful? How carefully did we use the gifts given to us by God? Could people rely on us? Were we faithful to our Baptism? Were we a blessing to the Church or a burden? Were we only spiritual consumers or did we contribute in some way to the life and work of the Church? Were we Catholic in our daily life or in name only? Did we live in the freedom of Christ’s grace or were we enslaved by the fatal attractions of sin? What would our obituary say of us? What would we want it to say?

As the Church concentrates on the mystery of death and dying in these weeks of readings in November, we may come to see that each day in our life is a grace, a time to know Jesus Christ more fully. November leads us into Advent in a few weeks which is a time to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. This parable today prepares us for the coming of Christ into our life. As we look back on our life, maybe some opportunities are forever gone but we have other opportunities now to grow in God’s grace.

None of us knows the hour or time when the Lord will come to us. Whenever He comes, we know our lamp will be burning ready filled with sufficient oil at that time if it is filled with oil and burning ready all the time!



Celebrant: The message of the Gospel calls on us to be wise and vigilant. Christ will come again. As we wait for him, we pray for the world he has redeemed.


READER: For the Church, that we read the signs of the times in a spirit of hope, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: May the gift of God’s Divine Wisdom help us to know what is of lasting value in our life, so that we might lead lives in communion with God’s will, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: That the dying may look to Christ with hope and penitent trust, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: That we may be helped and encouraged by the prayers offered through the intercession of Mary, seat of wisdom and Mother of Good Counsel (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


READER: In this month dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory, let us pray for our faithful departed who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and remembering also those who grieve their loss, (Pause) LET US PRAY TO THE LORD.


CELEBRANT: Lord our God, your mercy is measureless and your love is beyond words to describe. Look upon us in your loving kindness and grant us the riches of your favour. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. (all) AMEN.

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