November 12, 2023; Mt 25: 1-13; 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s gospel calls us to be prepared, prepared for life. But how do we prepare when we do not know what the future may bring? We are all aware of how quickly life can change: a phone call from the police that a son of daughter has been in an automobile accident; the dreadful announcement from our spouse that our marriage is coming to an end; the nervous explanation from our doctor that our colonoscopy was not only positive but serious. In a moment, we can be facing a crisis that we never anticipated an hour before. So how do we prepare for that?
Jesus tries to give us an answer in today’s gospel when he presents us with five virgins who were prepared for the unexpected arrival of the bridegroom. Why were they prepared? Because they had lit their lamps and knew how to keep them burning bright. The lamps in this parable represent our relationship with God. Jesus is trying to tell us that if we keep our lamps lit, if we keep our relationship with God active throughout our lives, we will be prepared for whatever comes.
We keeps our lamps lit when we see the world through Jesus’s eyes. When we are able to recognize God’s presence, not only in church, but everywhere. When our five year old son runs up and gives us one of his tightest hugs, we should be sure to feel not only his love but the love of God who gave him to us. When the woman front of us in the checkout line is taking forever to process her credit card, we can move impatience and anger aside and instead ask ourselves what beauty does God see in this woman, what burdens might she be carrying, who are the people who love her? When someone in our presence is ignored or belittled because of their social status or sexual orientation, we are able to ask God for the wisdom and strength to support the person who is abused and to challenge the person who offends.
If we can see the world through Christ’s eyes, we will be prepared for whatever crisis may come in our lives. Because whenever or wherever it comes, Christ will be with us. That is why we must take Christ with us everywhere. Because we know neither the day nor the hour that we will need his love and his strength.