Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading: Wisdom 6:12-16
Responsorial: Psalm 63:2-8
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
Being Alert, Awake, and Ready to Meet the Lord When He Comes
Those who were ready went into the wedding feast. (Matthew 25:10)
Today’s parable of the ten virgins urges us to be alert and awake, ready for the time when Jesus will come again. Jesus wants to make it clear that a time will come when each person is either welcomed into heaven or finds the door barred before them. He wants to warn us so that no one gets left out.
But what’s all this fuss about the virgins’ supply of oil? It seems that it’s the oil that determines whether we are ready to meet Jesus. We could call it our faith or the Holy Spirit or the grace of God. Whatever it is, it’s something that we can’t borrow from a friend. We have to be prepared with our own supply.
As frightening as this parable can seem, it can also fill us with hope. This parable tells us that anyone can be welcomed by Jesus, the Bridegroom, as long as they are alert, awake, and well supplied with the oil of salvation.
Staying alert and awake. Keeping our lamps aflame. Maintaining a good supply of oil. These are all ways of saying the same thing: Jesus wants us to keep our faith alive every single day. How can we do this? We can take our cue from St. Paul, who promised, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
We have a prime opportunity to check our faith when we proclaim the Creed every Sunday at Mass. Actually, we can do this every day in our personal prayer. We can be sure that whenever we confess and believe, we bring a smile to God’s face. Even if our faith is imperfect or incomplete, the Lord still smiles, and we can hear the angels announce, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” (Matthew 25:6).
So let’s proclaim our faith today. Let’s fill up our oil flasks by announcing our belief in Jesus, our Savior.
“Jesus, I believe in you.”
Questions for Reflection or Discussion:
- The first reading begins with these words: “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.”
- What do these words mean to you? Where do you seek wisdom?
- We know that Scriptures, the Word of God, contains the wisdom of God. How would you compare the amount of time you spend reading the newspaper and watching TV to the amount of time you spend reading Scripture?
- What are some changes you can make in your schedule, even small ones, that would allow you additional time for Scripture reading, e.g., reflecting on the daily Mass readings.
- The responsorial psalm opens with these words: “O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.”
- What about you? In what ways do these words describe the ways you seek the Lord and look forward to a daily time of prayer in the presence of the Lord?
- The responsorial psalm continues with these words: “For your kindness is a greater good than life; my lips shall glorify you. Thus will I bless you while I live; lifting up my hands, I will call upon your name. As with the riches of a banquet shall my soul be satisfied, and with exultant lips my mouth shall praise you. I will remember you upon my couch, and through the night-watches I will meditate on you.”
- These words of the psalm speak of glorifying, blessing, praising, and remembering the Lord, as well as meditating on him. In what ways can you make them a greater part of your personal times of prayer?
- What practical steps can you take to be more aware of God’s presence when you pray?
- November is the traditional month for remembering all our departed family and friends. In the second reading, St. Paul consoles us by reminding us that all those who died in Christ will rise with him: “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.”
- What are some ways you can bring this consolation to a family member, or a parishioner, or a co-worker who has suffered a recent bereavement?
- In what ways are St. Paul’s words a source of hope and consolation to you as well?
- In the Gospel parable of the ten virgins, the foolish virgins go off to buy more oil for their lamps and come back to find the bridegroom has returned and the doors are locked. They then cry out with these words: “Lord, Lord, open the door for us!” However, the Lord responds to them with these words: “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.” The Gospel reading ends with these words: “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
- What do you think is the significance of the doors being locked when the foolish virgins return?
- Is the thought of Jesus’ return in his Second Coming a source of hope and encouragement to you as you look forward to what lies ahead or is it a source of some concern? Why?
- The meditation’s reflection on the Gospel parable tells us that “Staying alert and awake. Keeping our lamps aflame. Maintaining a good supply of oil. These are all ways of saying the same thing: Jesus wants us to keep our faith alive every single day.” It ends with these words: “We have a prime opportunity to check our faith when we proclaim the Creed every Sunday at Mass. Actually, we can do this every day in our personal prayer. We can be sure that whenever we confess and believe, we bring a smile to God’s face. Even if our faith is imperfect or incomplete, the Lord still smiles, and we can hear the angels announce, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ (Matthew 25:6). So let’s proclaim our faith today. Let’s fill up our oil flasks by announcing our belief in Jesus, our Savior.”
- How would you describe the ways you keep your “faith alive every single day”?
- What ideas can you take from the meditation to help you to do even better?
- Take some time now to pray and “confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). Use the prayer below from the end of the meditation as the starting point.
“Jesus, I believe in you.”