Daily Reflection – Aug 26, 2016
Friday 26 August 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord
Psalm 32(33):1-2, 4-5, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:1-13
Today’s Note: Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
‘Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.’
Jesus’ parables are open-ended and can be applied in the many circumstances of our lives. There can be debates or discussions about some of the details of the parables, details which Jesus has left hanging in the air, as it were. Therefore, whenever Jesus expresses clearly the moral of his story, as he does in today’s Gospel, it is important to pay attention as that will help us to avoid irrelevant questions.
It is sometimes suggested, for example that the five wise bridesmaids could have been a little kinder and given some of their oil to the foolish ones: their reason ‘not enough for you and for us’ sounds a little self-centred. But this is not a story to teach us about sharing: it is a story about prudence and proper preparation for what we are invited to do.
However, even though, as Jesus first told it, it was not a story about sharing, nevertheless, facing crises, such as the European refugee crisis, we might well take time to reflect whether antipathy toward refugees or others in need arises from the fear ‘there will not be enough for them and for us’.
The parables of these ten bridesmaids in today’s Gospel can also be interpreted as a ‘be prepared message’ on many levels. With so much going on in our lives we can spread ourselves a bit too thin on the ground. The five foolish ones took a risk in not bringing spare oil for their lamps. We can take on too many activities, try to be all things to many people, and then find ourselves in a risky position when the very important times come. We then don’t have the energy to be really present for those who matter most. We can miss the joy of the occasion.
‘Staying awake’ can be about giving all we can to those we love but being prepared to have a little ‘oil’ aside to give energy to our relationship with God.
“Lord, teach us to be prudent and provident in fulfilling our duties, and let us never forget the care, love and compassion which crises demand of us.”