Dear Friends,
The Church’s Liturgical Year is gradually drawing to a close. This Sunday we celebrate the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time and ponder the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. 

             “The parable Jesus tells in today’s gospel may seem at first glance to be un-Christian. Why wouldn’t the five who have oil share theirs with the five who do not have oil? But that’s the wrong question. A better question would be, why weren’t the five who have no extra oil prepared? They knew enough to bring their lamps, but they did not bring reserve flasks of oil. They had not anticipated that they would need more oil than what their lamp could hold. Rather than share, lead­ing to a situation where nobody would have enough oil, the “wise” ones told the “foolish” to go get their own oil. And when they were gone, doing just that, the groom appeared, the guests entered, and the doors were locked. When the “foolish” ones returned, the master said he did not know them and they were not allowed in. Their cry of “Lord, Lord” calls to mind other passages in this gospel where people cry “Lord, Lord,” only to hear the master reply that he does not know them (7:21-23; 25:31-46).

             The motto of the Boy Scouts: “Be prepared” seems particularly apt here, and it reflects the atti­tude of many other parables in the Gospel of Matthew. Though Christians often imagine a forgiving God, that concept needs to be squared with the parables we read, such as the one we have today. Why didn’t the master simply let the “fool­ish” ones in? Is it really that important that they forgot to bring extra oil? Does the punishment fit the crime, so to speak?

             Again, these questions come readily to mind, but they are not the focus of the story. Instead, the point of the par­able is “preparedness” with respect to the coming of the “Lord.” And this likely reflects the situation in the Matthean community. This is the same gospel that gives us the parable of the weeds and the wheat growing together. Matthew seems to be aware that the church is a mixed bag of the wise and the foolish, those prepared for the Lord’s coming and those who are unprepared. It’s not for one group to throw out the other. God will allow those to enter whom he will. The ill-prepared, hoping on that day for someone else to bail them out, will not be allowed to enter.” (Living Liturgy 2020)

             The One Heart, One Soul Campaign is now in its 3rd week at our parish as well as many other parishes in our Diocese. Every week I receive an update from the Diocese on the progress of the campaign and how our parish is doing. I will provide a new update at Sunday Masses this weekend on how much was already pledged to the campaign and how many of our parishioners have responded to the invitation from our Bishop and myself to help support the projects that our parish has chosen as well as to assist poor parishes in our large Diocese. Thank you so much to those parishioners who have sent in their pledges already. I would like to invite others to send them as soon as possible. Thank you for your support.

             This coming Wednesday is Remembrance Day, a day that reminds us of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We are invited to remember those who have died during war and pray for the victims of aggression and inhumanity. It is a day to pray for peace and also to consider what we do as individuals, as a community, and as a nation to bring God’s peace into the world.  

             For parishioners who cannot join us in person, we will livestream the 9am Sunday Mass on our YouTube channel. The link is provided here, or you can visit YouTube and type: St. Francis Xavier Stoney Creek and find our channel that way. As always, we will begin Sunday morning at our parish with the livestreamed Rosary at 8:30am. Please pray with us for the various needs of our parish and the world.

God bless.
Fr. Mariusz