Father Ian VanHeusen presents a gospel reflection and spiritual exercise on the Mass readings from the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins.
How well (or poorly) do you prepare for your day? In light of this week’s gospel, are you one of the wise virgins, ready with oil in your lamp, or – like the foolish, unprepared virgins – does the day get away from you for failure to properly prepare, pray, and meditate on a structure that keeps you on the good path?
We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.
1. Meditate on the future.
2. Build a good support network.
3. Be mindful.
4. Be willing to adapt.
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1. Set aside the first 15 minutes of your day, before social media, before the news, to sit in silence with the Lord. This time might entail 5 minutes of reading the bible, 5 minutes of reflecting on what you’ve read, and 5 minutes of prayer in conversation with God. Ask Him to be with you and help you to remember His presence with you throughout the day, and to be mindful of His providence as you face whatever the day ahead will bring.
2. Reflect on the foolish virgins in this week’s Gospel. How are you failing to think about the future and how are you in communion with Jesus? Are there any nagging duties that you’ve been avoiding?
3. Consider your relationships and which ones need better cultivation and investment. Who in your life needs your help? Who is wise and virtuous, with whom you can nurture a deeper friendship with? Which types of people will you come into contact with today, and how will you be present to them in a Christlike way?
4. What key details have you overlooked that might be reminding you of your responsibilities? What have you been too busy to attend to? Resolve to stop avoiding these important duties.
5. Do you have a Plan B that will allow you to adapt if what you expect is not what comes to pass in your day? Take a moment to consider how things could go wrong, and to prepare yourself emotionally to adapt if this comes to pass.
Photo credit: Kinga Cichewicz / unsplash
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