Reflection for the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the now well-known story of the ten bridesmaids. They were waiting for the bridegroom to come to the wedding and he was late in coming (!), so they began to nod and fall asleep.
He finally gets there, very late; the bridesmaids wake up and trim their lamps. But the five (foolish) ones realize they are running out of oil. They ask their five friends to lend some of theirs, but, understandably, the wise ones refuse. So the unprepared five take their dimmed lamps and go off to the marketplace to buy some. By the time they get back, the first five are inside enjoying the wedding, and the five late comers find the door locked. They are not allowed in, and sadly they miss the celebration completely. So the story ends.
Jesus’ point is clear. We all want to come to the Heavenly wedding when it’s our time, but we have to plan ahead. We have to be ready for the invitation, which, we know all too well, can come anytime. But we can get lazy, thoughtless, or just tired of the waiting, and we fall asleep, as it were–if we aren’t watchful. Be ready, Jesus says to His listeners. You just don’t know the day or the time.
When we examine our consciences before the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we sometimes discover that we have not been as watchful as we should. Our usual time for prayer has slipped through our fingers until what was once a habit of prayer or Mass has now become a habit of finding other things to do instead. But we know better. What we have to do is trim our lamps, reset our flame (or ask Jesus to rekindle the flame for us) and ‘wake up.’ Jesus never forgets to come to us. We just sometimes forget to come to Him. And when we want to hurry back, we hope the door won’t be closed and locked. I can assure you, the door will not be closed and locked. He has the key and He will open the door before we knock, as soon as He hears our footsteps.
There is the chance, however, and this is what Jesus is talking about at the end of this parable, that time can run out. Someone might wait too long, run out of oil and find there is no time left to refill the lamp.
What happens if we die unprepared, with our lamps snuffed out? Jesus says it happens, and I cringe to think about such things. So let us pray, as we listen to this parable this weekend.
Jesus, Bridegroom of our Souls, we lift in prayer those souls who may die today unprepared to meet You. We ask for Your mercy especially for those who have no one else to pray for them. By Your unfailing Love, dearest Lord, draw them to Yourself before it’s too late. And, if we ourselves are in danger of letting our lamps go out, show us the way home through our darkness into Your embrace. For, no matter when You come, we long for You and for a place in Your Heaven with You for all eternity, Amen.
Have a beautiful week.