Being awake and prepared

12 November, 2023 32nd Sunday Year A

Listen to reflection

In biblical times, people wed at a young age with marriages arranged by the fathers of the couple. The betrothal took place in early youth and was a legal marriage, although the woman remained in her father’s house.


The wedding took place at a later stage when the bridegroom would come at a pre-arranged time to the parental home of the bride, and the betrothed woman, accompanied by a colourful procession went to the house of the groom where a feast would be held for all.


Jesus uses this scenario in a parable about the kingdom which he both proclaimed and inaugurated in word and deed. The ten bridesmaids awaiting the coming of Christ in glory at the end of time. The kingdom is among us but what is our approach to the second coming of Christ? Are we enthusiastically living a life of faith and bearing witness to our belief by incarnating the values of Jesus.


Do we, like some in the Thessalonian community, passively await the coming of the fullness of God’s kingdom. Mindful of the brokenness evident in our world do we merely cling to the hope that things can change for the better?


All the bridesmaids in the parable fall asleep, but wake at the coming of the bridal party. However, there is a degree of consternation as only half have thought to provide themselves with extra oil. The oil symbolises our willingness to invest daily in deepening our relationship with the Lord and serving the community.


We cannot expect to drift gently into eternal salvation. We must realise the necessity and urgency of witnessing and living the gospel, and of being spiritually and morally awake all the days of our lives.


Like the bridesmaids, it is time for each of to take stock of our personal situation as well as the situation of our community and our society. Perhaps there is a need to undertake a renewal of our lives. How do we do this? Perhaps it is through a renewed commitment to prayer. Perhaps it is by taking steps to enhance out biblical and theological literacy. Perhaps it is through a commitment to become more engaged in the life of our parish community. Perhaps it is by an undertaking to grow our relational skills in the service of our family. Perhaps it is by choosing to join a group who work with those on the margins of our society providing them with food, shelter, and the necessities of life.


There are many ways of growing our commitment to make a difference in the lives of those we love, to contribute more to our community and to renew our spiritual life. This commitment requires us to take stock of our lives, to reflect on the vision of the ‘kingdom of God’, and to actively and strategically plan how we will change so that the door to the heavenly banquet will be open for us.  


Michael A Kelly CSsR

© Majellan Media 2023

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