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Naples Navy Base Apostolate
32nd Sun. Ordinary time
Rev. Mr. John Sistare
Mt. 25:1-13 (Behold the Bridegroom!)

Remember to stamp your ticket! Remember to stamp your ticket!

My brothers and sisters, it was a struggle trying to decide on what to say to you all this weekend. I had about 10 ideas but couldn’t decide on one. However, finally it came as I took the bus ride from the college to the train station in effort to arrive here in Naples. I am not sure if the situation in Naples is the same as Rome, but in order to ride the bus you need a ticket. In fact, to authenticate this ticket, you need to stamp it in the machine on the bus, in case Mr. ticket guy gets on to check. Well, as me and the other deacon, Dave, attempted to do this, the machine was, "non funzione!" The translation of that…Broken! We were unable to stamp our tickets, so Dave decided to write the date and time on it, claiming this was the procedure when the machines were broken. I decided to take a chance, thinking this was no big deal since Mr. ticket guys rarely hops on the buses. Of course everything was fine, until the last stop! Then two ticket guys came, coming from each end of the bus. The good news is that they wrote on my ticket the date and time themselves and I escaped the fine, which could have been over $50 (steep for someone not living the high life!). My neglect could have been costly!!!

In today’s Gospel, we have a similar situation. Ten virgins/bridesmaids are waiting for the bridegroom, to take him to the bride. They all have torches because this took place in the evening. Five of them were wise and took extra oil with them. The other five were foolish and took no extra oil, taking a chance that there could be delay of the arrival of the bridegroom. (they took a chance like a foolish deacon we know!) However, while my neglect was almost costly there neglect ended up very costly!!! They missed the bridegroom as they went off to the merchant to buy more oil and were eventually locked out of the feast upon their return. A costly neglect!!!

My brothers and sisters, you have been invited!!! You have been invited to a Heavenly wedding feast! You know what the best part is?….all expenses are paid in full!!! That’s right, a free trip, (we all love that!) We have been invited to a banquet and the ticket has been paid for in full by Jesus! In baptism, we have been given a free ticket on this ‘bus’ to eternal life. However, like all invitations, at the bottom of the invite reads…RSVP. I don’t know French, Italian is hard enough, but I have learned that this stands for "repondez sil vous plait". Respond if you please!

If you please!!! What this invite needs is our response!!! What is our response? What is our response in prayer…help me Jesus, thank you Jesus, I want to spend time with you Jesus. What is our response when we sin…make me clean, bring me back into communion with you God. What is our response towards our neighbor…charity, love one another. What is our response here at Mass, where Jesus will be present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in just a few minutes on this altar. What is our response, when we come up to receive His Body and Blood, the same Body and Blood that paid for our ticket to the Heavenly banquet? My brothers and sisters, our response is…AMEN! I believe, so be it! AMEN!

My brothers and sisters, the ticket is in our possession to take us to the heavenly banquet that remains ahead. One thing still remains! One thing is left to do! STAMP the TICKET! We need to stamp our ticket on this ‘bus ride’ to the Eternal life with the word YES! Stamp the ticket with YES! Yes Jesus, I give my life totally and completely to you!



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