By Felix Edinborough
Today’s gospel is one of the several that Jesus uses to give us an idea of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the time of Jesus, at a marriage there was a solemn wedding procession from the home of the bride to the home of the bridegroom. The wedding ceremonies were held at night, and the bridal couple was accompanied by torches and lamps.
There was no set time for the bridegroom to appear, and provisions had to be made for a long delay. The closing and barring of the house door was not a simple task, and it was not opened again except for a real emergency.
Though we have no such activities today, we nevertheless can appreciate the point of the story as Jesus states in the end: So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.
This tells us that we need to be not only vigilant but especially to have foresight, something that is necessary at all times and at all stages of our life, should we wish to attain our goal of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The parable illustrates to us that as we live our daily lives, we need to always have our lamps filled with oil and be ready to trim our lamps. In other words, we must live with temporal and spiritual foresight.
Again, Jesus teaches us, when asked about which is the greatest commandment: You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… You must love your neighbour as yourself… On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets also.
Our reflection leads us to the truth that, if we want to attain the Kingdom of Heaven, we should not wait for the final moment to begin preparing, but that all during our lifetime we must be ready.
We have the necessary ingredients for proper preparation, the lamp, and flasks of oil. However, should we have our flasks empty and therefore unable to trim our lamps, the bridegroom will arrive when we are sleeping.
It is not enough for us to go to Mass regularly and do many devotions and pilgrimages. That alone will not save us. We need to show charity to our neighbour.
Living in this COVID-19 period with all the restrictions does not mean that we are unable to do what is necessary to live our life according to the demands of the greatest commandment.
There are many opportunities, and some are taking advantage of them— to attend virtual Masses and devotions, to have meditation, to have our private prayers, but also to help others by donating to food drives and keeping in touch with those who may be lonely or forgotten in our community. We need to be awake to the spiritual and temporal opportunities.
Jesus wants us to use our imagination, that’s why He always taught in parables. We have been provided with lamps and flasks. It is for us to have our flasks always filled and be ready to trim our lamps when the bridegroom arrives.
In waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom we will become drowsy and if we are not prepared, we will hear the words: I do not know you.
Let us be always prepared so that when the bridegroom comes, we will have this experience of entering the wedding hall with Him.
Lord, we thank you for helping us, giving us graces, to always have our flasks filled with oil for our lamps and to be ready for the arrival of the bridegroom. We follow your commandments to love God and our neighbour and always have foresight.
We ask forgiveness for the times we are stubborn, bigoted, and arrogant, and think we had plenty of time not aware that the bridegroom can arrive at any moment.
We ask You to continue to help us all to be always prepared for the graces and favours which You are willing to freely give us. May we be always ready for entrance into your wedding hall. Amen
Felix Edinborough is a retired secondary school teacher and a parishioner of St Anthony’s, Petit Valley.