Be prepared

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 6:12-16

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep. Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore, console one another with these words.

Matthew 25:1-13

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."

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us with the parable of the ten bridesmaids who take their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them are foolish, they take their lamps but do not take oil with them. When the delayed bridegroom arrives at midnight, their lamps go out and they are not allowed into the wedding banquet. ‘Those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut” (Mat 25:12).

Jesus teaches us to be prepared at all times, we must ensure that we are among the wise bridesmaids who bring oil for their lamps, for Jesus said, “Keep awake … for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Mat 25:13). Indeed, when we celebrated All Souls’ Day at the beginning of this month in commemoration of the faithful departed, it is also a reminder that one day when we die or at the second coming of Jesus, we do not know when, we have to face God. When that happens, we are all the same; the rich, famous and powerful, or the poor and desolate. We cannot add a single moment to our life-span even if we own a lot of resources and possess all the riches in this world. We must leave all we have behind, we will return to God with nothing material in the same way as when we came to this world.

Therefore, we must learn from Jesus’ parable: Be prepared at all times. Be the wise bridesmaids. It is easy to stray from our path of faith in a society which is drifting further and further away from the life and the joyful hope that Jesus promises us. In this troubled world, the voice of false arguments against our Christian faith and values is becoming louder and stronger. Even worse, these false arguments are always carefully thought through with research and statistics, supported with a high moral principle and eloquently put forward. They sound so convincing that it becomes easy for us to slip and fall along our path of faith. To remain a true follower of Christ, we need wisdom to discern the truth; we need wisdom in our every thought; and word and deed to keep awake and be prepared. How do we find wisdom? By trusting in God, the Book of Wisdom teaches us, “They that trust in him, shall understand the truth” (Wisdom 3:9). The first reading also tells us that wisdom is “found by those who seek her”, she “goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought” (Wisdom 6:12, 16). If only we are willing to trust God, we will find the wisdom that enables us to adhere to the Christian faith and values, to keep awake and be prepared everyday of our life.

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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