21st Week in Ordinary Time, Friday

In today’s Gospel Our Lord reminds us that vigilance is not enough to be ready for that definitive encounter with him some day. Preparation is also needed to be ready for what can be a long wait. While in today’s parable preparation is necessary due to a prolonged delay, we can also see the need to simply be prepared. In the case of the foolish virgins the lack of vigilance along with a lack of preparation prevented them from doing what was expected of them when the moment came. Perhaps if they’d been more vigilant they’d have seen in time that they needed to get more oil for their lamps when the bridegroom was delayed; their initial mistake of not being prepared for a long wait would have been corrected.

Many people today have a minimalist idea of their duties toward God and toward others. They see prayer, sacramental life, and works of charity and spreading the Gospel as someone else’s job. They ask others for prayers, which is good, since we all need to pray for each other, but the parable teaches today that we have to be prepared and do our part as well. We need to pray. We need to have a sacramental life. We need to do works of charity. We need to spread the Gospel, and no one else can take our place. How much is too much? Jesus teaches us today that the real question should not be how much should we do, but how much can we do.

Let’s ask Our Lord to help us be vigilant and prepared for our definitive encounter with him one day through living a holy and generous life.

Readings: 1 Thessalonians 4:1–8; Psalm 97:1, 2b, 5–6, 10–12; Matthew 25:1–13.