Reflection on Matthew 25:1-13 (24th Sunday after Pentecost)

The Gospel according to Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Let us Pray: Loving God, we recognize our responsibility to encourage and uphold one another and to live together in peace and love. We also recognize our needs and our human weaknesses and come to you now with our prayers. Amen.

What is our task in this time and place? We may all answer as we choose, but I would offer this thought: we are here to be healers. This moment in human history is a time of deep wounds, deep suspicions, anger, and confusion. While we may wish we could live in some other mythical age of peace and plenty, we have been called to this place for a purpose. Our hard job is not to rush to extremes, but to pull people back from the brink, to restore civility, to champion reason over rage. Can we do it?  With God’s help, yes. Will we do it? If we trust faith over fear, yes. YES! (from The Medicine Wheel by Steven Charleston)

What is our task, are we going to be like the wise bridesmaids or the foolish bridesmaids? Are we going to be ready, as readiness is the point of this parable? The 5 wise bridesmaids understand the importance of responsibility and readiness. Sometimes not everyone today understands responsibility and being prepared, as a world we are fighting a great problem that requires us to be ready and responsible. The 5 foolish bridesmaids were not ready, and they faced the consequences. The foolish ones tried to depend on others to give them what they should have thought ahead to get. Have you been in this position where you may not have thought ahead and needed others? This parable asks us if we are ready when the bridegroom shows up? Today, we also are waiting for the bridegroom to come to each one of us.  Do we have our lamps lit? Are we prepared and alert? Or has our oil been used up and our lamp dark?  Or perhaps we have fallen asleep? So do not allow yourselves to fall asleep in a dark corner of despair. Rather, take your rest in the Lord. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” You heard Jesus say at the end of the parable to “keep awake, for you neither know the day nor the hour of our Lord’s return.”  Let that oil burn brightly until Christ comes and makes all things right again.

Let us Pray: Heavenly Father, we are sometimes foolish, not wise; scatterbrained, not prudent; reactive, not responsive. Forgive our less commendable words and deeds. Remind us of the wonderful honor and high privilege of being called to your Son’s wedding feast! Give us the grace and wisdom of your Holy Spirit. Let us always rejoice; believe; and show the light of faith, hope, and love even in this dark world. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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