Friday, August 30, 2013
1) Opening prayer
Father of everlasting goodness,
our origin and guide,
be close to us
and hear the prayers of all who praise you.
Forgive our sins and restore us to life.
Keep us safe in your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2) Gospel Reading – Matthew 25, 1-13
Jesus said to his disciples: “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten wedding attendants took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones, though they took their lamps, took no oil with them, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “Look! The bridegroom! Go out and meet him”. Then all those wedding attendants woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other attendants arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us.” But He replied, “In truth I tell you I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.
• Today is the Feast of Saint Edith Stein who in Carmel took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. For this reason, the Gospel today narrates the parable of the ten virgins who had to welcome the bridegroom when he arrived to the wedding.
• Matthew 25, 1ª: The beginning: “At that time”. The parable begins with these two words: “At that time”. It is a question of the coming of the Son of Man (cfr. Mt 24, 37). Nobody knows when this day, this time will come, “not even the angels in Heaven nor the Son himself, but only the Father” (Mt 24, 36). The fortune tellers will not succeed in giving an estimate. The Son of Man will come as a surprise, when people less expect him (Mt 24, 44). It can be today, it can be tomorrow, that is why the last warning of the parable of the ten Virgins is: “Keep watch!” The ten girls should be prepared for any thing which may happen. When the Nazi Policemen knocked at the door of the Monastery of the Carmelite Sisters of Echt in the Province of Limburgia, in the Netherlands, Edith Stein, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was prepared. She took on the Cross and followed the way to martyrdom in the extermination camp out of love for God and for her people. She was one of the prudent virgins of the parable.
• Matthew 25, 1b-4: The ten virgins ready to wait for the bridegroom. The parable begins like this: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like this: ten wedding attendants took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom”. It is a question of the girls who have to accompany the bridegroom to the wedding feast. Because of this, they have to take the lamps with them, to light the way, and also to render the feast more joyful with more light. Five of them were prudent and five were foolish. This difference is seen in the way in which they prepare themselves for the role that they have to carry out. Together with the lighted lamps, the prudent ones had taken some oil in reserve, preparing themselves in this way for anything which could happen. The foolish ones took only the lamps and they did not think to take some oil in reserve with them.
• Matthew 25, 5-7: The unforeseen delay of the arrival of the bridegroom. The bridegroom was late. He had not indicated precisely the hour of his arrival. While waiting the attendants went to sleep. But the lamps continue to burn and use the oil until gradually they turned off. Suddenly, in the middle of the night, there was a cry: “Look! The bridegroom! Go out and meet him!” All the attendants woke up, and began to prepare their lamps which were burning out. They had to put in some of the oil they had brought in reserve so that the lamps would not burn out.
• Matthew 25, 8-9: The different reactions before the delay of the bridegroom. It is only now that the foolish attendants become aware that they should have brought some oil in reserve with them. They went to ask the prudent ones: “Give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out”. The prudent ones could not respond to this request, because at that moment what was important was not for the prudent ones to share their oil with the foolish ones, but that they would be ready to accompany the bridegroom to the place of the feast. For this reason they advised them: “You had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves”.
• Matthew 25, 10-12: The fate of the prudent attendants and that of the foolish ones. The foolish ones followed the advice of the prudent ones and went to buy some oil. During their brief absence the bridegroom arrived and the prudent ones were able to accompany him and to enter together with him to the wedding feast. But the door was closed behind them. When the others arrived, they knocked at the door and said: “Lord, Lord, open the door for us!” and they received the response: “In truth I tell you, I do not know you”.
• Matthew 25, 13: The final recommendation of Jesus for all of us. The story of this parable is very simple and the lesson is evident: “So stay awake and watch, because you do not know either the day or the hour”. The moral of the story: do not be superficial, look beyond the present moment, and try to discover the call of God even in the smallest things of life, even the oil which may be lacking in the small light or lamp.
4) Personal questions
• Has it happened to you sometimes in your life to think about having oil in reserve for your lamp?
• Do you know the life of Saint Edith Stein, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross?
5) Concluding Prayer
I will bless Yahweh at all times,
his praise continually on my lips.
I will praise Yahweh from my heart;
let the humble hear and rejoice. (Ps 34,1-2)