“Wisdom is bright, & does not grow dim” ..the secret, the code-word for the presence of God in Old Testament, was word “wisdom”.. we weren’t just told the secret 2020yrs in New Testament, we met the secretin person.. you will tell me in Jesus Christ.. a good answer & you would be right.. but we want the real answer in which we meet in person daily, who is she? “she” she is the Holy Spirit..hokmah..the breath of God, the feminine dimension of the Trinity.. ..in 1st rdg listen carefully to a beautifully quiet poetic description of her.. a love poem.. “what was Fr Bede talking about at Mass” asks a stay at home member of your family ..tell them “love poetry”..& they won’t ask “did he go on too long?.. or was it boring?”
“..by those who love her she is readily seen..” ..how many times so far this weekend have you seen her?.. ; Lord have mercy “ ..even to think about her is understanding fully grown” ..how many times an hour do you think of your closest loved one?.. ; Christ have mercy “. .graciously shows herself to them, as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them” ..think of her & she comes to meet you.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
40yrs ago when I came to Ampleforth as a novice monk, I studied Scripture under Fr Henry, without doubt one of three finest scripture scholars in world today; he’d mark my essays & would caution me at times if we were looking at a parable & write in margin “be careful you don’t make it into an allegory”.. as a Quantity Surveyor I was taught to compose technical documentation with care & precision as a word left out or a term open to loose interpretation could cost client a six figure sum in damages.. our gospel of ten bridesmaids Fr Henry would say was a parable, the details & characters have no hidden meaning; the important thing is the lesson of story..& the lesson? as we enter November & we remember our deceased loved ones, is to be awake, alert to Our Lord’s coming to us at the hour of death.. over 49,000 unexpected deaths in UK so far this year, who would have imagined it last November? “stay awake, for you do not know either the day or the hour”& does God himself know the day or hour I wonder? our God a God of surprises.. he arrives at unexpected surprise moment not to try to catch us unaware but to give us excitement joy of his immediate arrival; he wants us to keep watch in readiness; one of many tragedies of Covid is that beloved victims of it in ICU wards or in care homes cross threshold into eternal life alone, save for dedicated & loving nursing staff.. it costs us so much in loss of life, yet it is fertile soil in helping us relearn basics of family parish & community life; our Masses here have a sense of recusancy; of penal times when few faithful souls would risk their lives to meet priest in remote barn in Bilsdale at 4pm of afternoon to celebrate Mass; 20mins later the few would melt back home; the few risking all on behalf of the many.. to keep the flame of faith alive; five foolish bridesmaids who never thought Covid would go on for so long, & their stocks of oil, their provisions squirrelled away for 6/7wks of a lockdown ran out; imagine sadness/disgrace; they’d given everything but it proved to be not enough.. no stocks of oil, no stocks of a vaccine yet, but UK has advance orders with six multinational pharmaceutical giants for 340m doses, for UK population of 68m..five doses each “just in case Fr Bede”.. a situation, an injustice Pope Francis referred to some weeks ago but it gained little media attention; he & gospel would want five wise bridesmaids to be generous in sharing their oil stocks & our vaccine stocks with those who haven’t any, can’t afford to buy huge amounts needed ”there may not be enough for us & you; you had better go off to those who make it & buy some for yourselves”.. are we not up to our necks & consciences in an allegory?.. ”us & you” notice social religious ethnic economic divide “us & you” keep out.. our protectionism cost five migrant lives week before last, stockpiling our side of the fence & the Channel; a sad indictment of a European Union & its roots firmly planted in Social Doctrine of our Catholic Church..& the five foolish bridesmaids & 12,000 migrants in Calais tried to buy oil or a seat on open dinghy& thereby meet the bridegroom Christ himself in person..& when they at last collected enough to pay for oil & Channel crossing & arrived they found door & border closed “Lord, Lord open for us” but he replied “I tell you [you not us] solemnly I do not know you” Matthews discrimatory theology “you & us” Jew & non-Jew, insider welcome.. outsider like servant girl rebuffed by Peter “I do not know the man”.. nor do I know the migrant.. ”you too were with Jesus” notice “were” no longer “are”.. maybe ex follower or parishioner & no longer?. you can feel & taste the difference between parable & its’ one single message “stay awake” & journey we have just made together into an allegory, to meet real gospel message on front line with five foolish & five wise bridesmaids, & which group is which? wise/foolish now we’ve been there & discovered a real gospel, breaking news & breaking hearts..& on beach in Calais at this very moment, in force 8 gale, a small dinghy you wouldn’t use in outdoor pool in Helmsley, remember homily in summer?.. a dinghy overloaded about to set out for Dover & our promised land, & to say to Border Agency, “our” Agency “Sir, open the door for us” & what will your response be?.. “watch for her early & you will find her [the Holy Spirit] sitting at your gates” personified in mother of four from Syria “even to think about her is understanding fully grown”.. wisdom or foolishness?.. choice is yours.. a simple parable or a life-changing allegory?.. a seatbelt or a lifejacket? [32nd Sun Yr A Mt 25;1-13]