Gospel Reflection – Sunday Week 32 Ordinary Time – Cycle A

In today’s Gospel we hear an important lesson. There is, within the structure of the spiritual life, a great importance placed on waiting. We wait for God is all things: in our day to day life, in our prayer, in our interactions with others, and in our coming to understand and respond to the Gospel message.
It isn’t good enough, though, to only wait. Notice how the wise attendants had thought things through. They had brought enough oil to last them. They were waiting, yes, but they had acted in such a way as to prepare ‘beyond’ that waiting. Had they only waited without thinking, without acting, then they would have been a poor attendant. And their very purpose would have been for naught.
The fire behind the preparedness of the wise attendants is this: listening and responding. They heard their duties and why they were performing them, and they prepared themselves accordingly.
How, then, do we listen and respond to God in our lives? It is a big question. It isn’t good enough to hear the Good News and make no response. So, what IS our response?
What is the oil you have forgotten in the past? Is it a lack of courage to proclaim Jesus? Is it a need for comfort over ascetic spiritual practices? Is it a dearth of live for those who need it? All of these things and many more are the oil that we need to keep our lamp burning.
The fuel to the fire of our relationship with God is often our innate need for him, our thirsting for him. We cannot escape that inbuilt desire to know and love God. As the Psalms put it:
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So, recognizing this deep longing is a good starting place on our journey towards listening and responding. Listen to Scripture, let us sink in. Hear our own longing through the longing of the Isrealites and disciples. Make their longing into our longing. We can then, slowly, begin to respond to his message through all we do and are, and live closer to that image of the wise attendants.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew
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. Related image 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.
The Gospel of the Lord.