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Keep Your Lamps Lit
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in Heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?” The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to keep my “lamps lit” for your coming in my daily life and in view of the consummation of your saving plan in history.
- Nurturing Hope: Today’s first two readings nurture our theological memory. The reading from the book of Wisdom recalls the Exodus, nurturing hope in God’s promise. Through remembrance of God’s saving plan, the Jewish people’s sense of identity as a Chosen People was reaffirmed and reinforced. We are invited to engage with salvation history as an integral part of our own personal story, allowing it to affirm our identity as beloved and saved children of God. The reading from the book of Hebrews recalls the faith of our ancestors who received the reward of blessing through an exodus from slavery. It recalls Abraham’s unshakeable faith and hope in God’s promise. We stand in a long line of witnesses of God’s faithful promise. Allow that truth to strengthen your hope in the Lord’s fidelity in your own life circumstances.
- Hope Nurturing Trust: Consciousness of God’s fidelity inspires trust in present circumstances. When fear surfaces, we do well to turn to our theological memory of God’s promise and fidelity. We recall Jesus’ tender words, “There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Hope and trust are like beacons of light that casts away lurking shadows of doubt and fear. We keep our lamps lit by exercising these necessary virtues.
- Blessedness in the Kingdom: We keep our lamps lit by encountering the Bridegroom himself. He is a gift from the Father and the entryway to the Kingdom promised us. Christ is the “door between time and eternity,” the bridge between us and God the Father, the way, truth, and life for all who are baptized into his Kingdom.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me keep my lamp lit by trusting in your promise. It is not a far-off promise but, rather, it is very relevant to the present circumstances in which I find myself.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will recognize doubt and fear that try to quench the flame of faith. I will make no change in the orientation of my heart towards you, nor the good resolutions I made in times of light and consolation. Rather, I will increase my acts of hope and trust in your fidelity.
For Further Reflection: Discernment of Spirits, Rule 5.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”