Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
There are many ways to find answers to our questions today. If we are sitting at a meeting and a person asks, “How many Catholic churches are there in the United States?” No doubt, someone will google the question and get an instant answer. (There are more than 20,000 Catholic church buildings in the US today.) If the question is a more thoughtful one, “Why are there so many mass shootings?” we can still google the question and get an answer, or at least an opinion. We can also ask Alexa questions, such as,” Alexa, what schools are in Goshen, New York?” She will tell us the names of the schools. I can ask Alexa “Who won the Giants game yesterday?” and be told, “The Giants lost to the Rams 51 to 17!”
For more personal and complex questions, a nonprofit organization provides free and confidential advice. The Elder Wisdom Circle, founded in 2001 has 600+ active volunteers offering advice to young people needing a “cyber grandparent”. Advice seekers, usually ages 15 to 40, are paired with a volunteer senior, aged 60 to 105, who shares their knowledge, insight, and wisdom via email.
Once, out of curiosity, I asked Alexa “What is scripture?” She said, “Scripture is a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans.” Asking Google, Siri or Alexa is interesting and even enlightening; However, the answers are no replacement for a personal relationship built on reflection and contemplation. The Word of God provides us not only with answers to questions but also guidelines to consider as well as parables illuminating values to be lived in good and difficult times.
The readings for the day offer us a glimpse at a comforting future: “whoever watches for wisdom at dawn shall not be disappointed” “whoever keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care” “we shall always be with the Lord”
The parable of the wise and foolish virgins struggling to choose preparation and alertness highlights our need to struggle with how to be prepared and responsive in our day and the situations in which we find ourselves. How do we prepare and engage in a world where we are confounded by the misuse of guns, the repeated incidents of senseless mass shootings, and the lack of action of our lawmakers and community leaders?
Daily we return to the scriptures that invite us into a deeper relationship with our God and lead us to a relationship of service to God’s people. Daily our sitting in quiet contemplation draws us closer to the source of truth and life and thus moves us to share truth and life with others. We believe that whoever watches for wisdom at dawn shall not be disappointed!
Sister Ellenrita Purcaro, O.P.