Do you have a bucket list?
How would you spend tomorrow if you knew it was your last day on earth?
Just as the sun is setting earlier and the length of days is narrowing, we Catholics are drawing to the close of our Liturgical Year. On November 27th, the First Sunday of Advent, we will begin a new year, marking the four weeks to prepare for the Light of the World to be born at Christmas. Until then the themes of the readings at Mass are focused on endings, specifically the end of the world where we believe, as we profess at Mass, Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
In today’s Gospel we hear the Parable of the 10 Virgins (i.e. bridesmaids) who are waiting for the bridegroom (i.e. bride and groom) to show up to welcome them to the wedding feast. Five of the women do not bring enough oil for their lamps and they have to go to away to buy more oil so that they could welcome and accompany the couple into the feast. They were unprepared. While they were gone the bride and groom showed up and went into the wedding feast along with those who were their waiting for them with lit lamps. When the others came back, the party had already begun and they were not let in.
The lesson in this parable is the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared, especially because you know neither the day nor the hour. We are not called as Christians to live scared as though Jesus is waiting to catch us or surprise us with the end of life or the world. Yet remembering that as Christians we believe that this world (and our lives) are going to come to an end helps to remind us of our true identity (beloved of God) and our ultimate destiny (union with Him in Heaven).
Rather than scaring us, living in these twilight weeks of the Liturgical Year can help to put life into a better perspective so that we are more prepared to welcome Jesus into the world and our hearts at Christmas. Oftentimes this realization happens in people’s twilight years of life. We should learn from today’s Gospel and the example of our elders in our Faith communities to be prepared to give an account of who we are and how we are living.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
-What is one thing I want to change about my life this year?
-What is one thing about my relationship with God I want to develop this year?
Image Credit:The Parable of the Ten Virgins by Ain Vares