1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to 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:
This Sunday’s Gospel reading shows us what it means to be truly foolish. We believe in Christ — good! We pray — good! We put time into our faith growth and we value opportunities for more faith formation — very wise! And we say that we trust God — wonderful!
But what happens when God doesn’t answer our prayers fast enough? What if we need Christ’s loving embrace or his protection from evil and yet we’re suffering with no end in sight? Where is Jesus then?
Usually, God’s timing is not ours. We think we have the right idea about how soon God should intervene when we ask for his help. Right now is a good time for it, right? Of course! But perhaps not from God’s perspective. (Why do we want to leave God in charge anyway, if he doesn’t see things our way, huh?)
When we despair over unanswered prayer, the reality behind it is that we’re emotionally unprepared for any timing that’s different from what we think it should be. The foolish bridesmaids thought the groom would arrive before their lamps burned out. They thought they understood the situation. Do we?
Furthermore, if God’s plans are illogical — if they don’t make sense to us — we distrust them. And then we get ourselves into the mess of trying to handle things apart from God.
We cannot trust our logic. We cannot trust our perception or our understanding of the situations we’re in. The sooner we decide to enjoy the absurdity of being a Christian, the sooner we will find out that God’s ways are awesomely much, much better than anything we can imagine!
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What have you resisted doing because it doesn’t make sense? What can you do, where can you turn, to whom can you go for help in discerning whether or not it’s God’s plan for you?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How do you know when an illogical plan is really what God wants you to do? What’s happened in your life that has taught you to trust the Holy Spirit’s surprises? Share a lesson you learned when you weren’t ready for God’s plan because you didn’t believe it.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica