1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Ps 97:1, 2b, 5-6, 10-12
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:ccc.usccb.org/cccradio/NABPodcasts/17_09_01.mp3
A reading from the Holy Gospel according Matthew.
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.”
Good News Reflection:
Are you carrying a torch for Jesus? Today’s Gospel reading reminds me of the modern-day metaphor for a special love relationship. To “carry a torch” for a friend means that we have a warm spot in our heart for him or her, and we won’t let it dim. It’s like the Olympic torch that’s carried by runners around the world until it lights up the opening ceremonies of the games; we’ll run anywhere and for as long as necessary for the one we love.
Do you have this kind of love for Jesus? If you do, then what’s the fuel that lights your torch? And what keeps your torch from running out of this fuel?
Perhaps your torch is lit by your prayer life and you keep it lit by taking time every day to quietly connect with God. Or maybe it’s the suffering you’ve endured for the sake of unconditionally loving someone who doesn’t love you back equally, and you’ve offered your heart-breaks to Jesus as a sacrifice that unites you to his cross. Or it’s the joy of using your gifts and talents in the Church. Or it’s all of the above and more.
We’re like the foolish bridesmaids if we do little more than pick up our torch and run without taking into consideration that a seemingly short sprint might become a long marathon. We need to stock up.
What fuels your love for Jesus when you get tired? Or when you get discouraged and feel hurt and disappointed? Or when your patience burns out?
We can’t make it through one single day without losing at least some of our holiness and spiritual strength! What makes us think that we don’t need to start each day in prayer asking for supernatural help? Or that we don’t need to take time to seek hope and guidance from scripture? Or that we don’t need to put effort into studying the teachings of the Church to receive more wisdom from the Holy Spirit?
As Jesus points out in the parable, the Master cannot recognize us (i.e., we don’t look like we belong to him) if we’re claiming to be Christian but we’re buzzing through life doing whatever feels good and looks good. True Christian living requires major effort — and sometimes it’s unpleasant! When we’re not forcing ourselves to move ahead in holiness, we slip into sin. There’s no such thing as standing still. Either we’re pushing ourselves forward in spiritual growth or we’re swept backward by the winds of the world and we’re pushed backward by demons who take advantage of our laziness.
Reading this reflection has given you some fuel. What else will you do today to add fuel to the fire of your love for Jesus?
My Lord and my God: Forgive me for those times when laziness has won a place in my heart. May the certainty of our meeting at the end of times always be my aim and my help so that I persevere till the end. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica