“Be prepared,” said the old Cub Scout motto. Our lamps need to be filled with oil, in the Gospel story from St. Matthew Gospel. When the fuel is running low how do we keep the lanterns burning? Our lamps are ready when we wake up from sleep and engage in the problems of our world and its people, interact with people in need, dialogue on the important issues of the world, and get into action. Our lamps are ready when we broaden our understanding and are willing to see the world as God sees does — when we come to see that all people, men and women, reflect the dignity of God and are made in the image and likeness of God. Our lamps are ready when we put this vision in practice.
Those ten ladies took their wedding job seriously. Waiting for a groom and his potential father in law as they dicker on the dowry tried the most patient. If she was good, she was worth waiting for. The early church struggled to hold on to hope when it appeared that Jesus had not returned. The end of the age felt delayed. Some began to doubt his promise of a return.
As our election ends, the number of infections due to the pandemic in Arizona is climbing. Now more young people are succumbing. Today’s parable calls us to seize the moment and direct our lives guided by the wisdom God gives us in Christ. Perhaps we do not yet see Christ coming. What we experience are the multitude of endings caused by the virus. There are the: much-changed routines of work, on-line schooling, crammed schedules, accustomed activities on hold, rushed family meals, fatigue from endless Zoom meetings, interminable election news, worry and impatience for a vaccine, etc. How are we doing, how shall we respond? It depends on how well we have tended to our “oil” supply. The image of those brides’ maids, wise and foolish, gives us a picture of our church. Perhaps we can help assist one another when it feels like the gas gauge is on empty.
Thanks to all who worked on last weekend’s “Dia De los Muertos.” This wonderful gathering though smaller than last year was the gift of some good St. Mary’s leaders. Jerome Doris, Luci Perez, Silvia Hernandez, Br. Scott and Gordon Stevenson. Other local friends made it a lovely day to remember. Thanks for the procession and the beauty and music of the day. We continue to honor our dead, especially through the Covid pandemic in the month of November with our lamps lit.
Parts of this reflection adapter from adapted from First Impressions, Jude Siciliano, OP., November 8, 2020.
A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM