12 November 2017
Wisdom is bright, and does not grow dim.
By those who love her she is readily seen,
and found by those who look for her.
Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them.
Watch for her early and you will have no trouble;
you will find her sitting at your gates.
Even to think about her is understanding fully grown;
be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you.
She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her
and graciously shows herself to them as they go,
in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.
Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’
Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall
I remember one of the priests in my parish describing a little anecdote about social responsibility. He would always pick up the rubbish he sees on the church grounds, but would always find himself being stopped by parishioners when he is in the midst of doing so. The concerned parishioners would tell him that he does not need to dirty his hands as the cleaner would pick up the trash. Their remarks did not make much sense to the priest.
In the gospel reading, the ten bridesmaids had all committed themselves to the wedding, and part of that commitment involves ensuring that they had sufficient oil in their lamps to last the night. The five foolish bridesmaids did nothing to honour that commitment, and even hoped to cut corners by getting the oil from the five wise ones. At the end, they found themselves completely shut out from the wedding, left out in the dark.
All our life, we have to deal with commitments. A lot of times we find ourselves making them, and sometimes, we break them. As illustrated by the gospel, making a commitment is not passive lip service – it requires continued, sustained action to keep fulfilling that promise. It means making that extra effort, going that additional mile, and occasionally getting our hands dirty (with reference to the litter example in my first paragraph).
We can identify the many roles that we play in our lives – a son or daughter, a parent, a friend, a neighbor. Ultimately, we are living out our commitment as Christians, followers of Christ. So we have to keep active in the faith, for “She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them” (Wisdom 6:16).
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for the grace to meet Christ everyday in our words, thoughts and actions.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the people who have shown their commitment to us in our lives.