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Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Opening Prayer: My Lord, you reveal to us the fullness of what it means to become truly human. I renew my faith in the promise that you will lead me to this fulfillment.
- Right Place at the Right Time: In this parable, Jesus told us that ten virgins “went out to meet the bridegroom.” All ten of them were in the right place when the bridegroom arrived. Yet, some were unprepared to actually go into the feast. Even good people can be in the “right place” for the wrong reasons. Let’s look with fresh insight into the purity of intention with which we strive to live out our relationship with Christ and with others.
- What’s the Lesson?: Jesus always teaches a spiritual lesson in his parables. In today’s Gospel, Jesus’s message focuses on lamps. Like yesterday, his point is to encourage us to prepare for his coming. The shining lamps stand for the virtues with which we want to present ourselves; the oil is the persevering dedication we need in order to grow in these virtues by living accordingly.
- Too Sleepy?: Our Lord is the bridegroom and he invites each of us into the wedding feast. He is asking each of us to consider whether we are foolish virgins or wise ones. Do we eagerly anticipate an encounter with Jesus in our daily prayer, in the sacraments, in our neighbor? Or are we “unprepared,” distracted, or too sleepy?
Conversing with Christ: Lord, grant me the grace to see you in all things, in my everyday tasks. I invite you, Lord, to make yourself present in today’s tasks, to accompany me, nudge me, smile at me in every possible moment. Teach me to recognize you, so that I can smile back!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will evaluate my preparedness for entering the wedding feast, and make a date to go to confession, as necessary.
For Further Reflection: Read this examination of conscience from the USCCB.
Written by Father Gabriel von Wendt, LC.