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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable: " The Kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For 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, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry. 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ' Gives us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." The Gospel of the Lord Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECTION : 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.'

Ouch !! We all have felt that angst of not being prepared.

In the Lord's time the custom was for the bride and groom to celebrate for a week with friends and family. The groom , at his discretion, could come and get his bride and bring her to their new home. If he came by night then lights were required and the handmaidens or bridesmaids accompanied the bride . Once the company and the bride and groom arrived at their new home, the doors were closed and no one else could be admitted.

We are being warned over and over again by Jesus to be prepared. We cannot expect to get by with the last minute rush. You need time to be a good nurse, therapist, athlete, artist, priest, doctor, captain, and a good student. Will we be ready when the Lord calls us or will we be without the light? It is he who comes for us and for our part we must watch for him lest he leaves without us and the door slams shut.

It is good that we start out on the path with Christ, in fact it is very good. But we may slack off or tire or lower the standards half way down that path so that eventually our comfort is what we think God wants for us. We have lost that self sacrificial life that we were so eager to have at the beginning. Let us not let God find us without our oil to light our lamps--our loss of good words and works, loss of charity, and loss of our prayer life.

PRAYER: Spare me, dear Lord, of those dreaded words, "Truly, I say to you, I do not know you." By the time we hear those words, it is too late!!. Keep my lamp bright, give me the perseverance to finish the work given me to do, to care and love my parents, children and a stranger. May I be ready when you come and pick me up.


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