Friday, September 1, 2017

“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.”

“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”― Bobby Knight: (born October 25, 1940: is a retired American basketball coach.)

Gospel Text: (MT 25:1-13
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."

In our culture we are used to a carefully planned life. For some people every step of their day is recorded in advance in their computer or smart phone and this does have some advantages. But it also has at least one disadvantage: it allows us to know how long we can procrastinate before getting down to business.

Today’s parable is a warning against adopting such attitude in our relationship with God. A conveniently designed or imagined pseudo-God could be programmed. We “know” when and where to meet that God: Sunday mass, visit to the tabernacle... We also know that we have to prepare ourselves, if or when serious illness occurs. But in between it is “our time”.

The parable reminds us that all of our life is God’s time, that a true God (as opposed to an imagined pseudo-God) is a God of surprises that remains un-programmable and that consequently the only adequate readiness is a wholehearted desire for a life-commitment to God. The emphasis here is on wholehearted, because there exists also a half-hearted type of commitment that may satisfy us and the pre-conceived demands of our designed pseudo-God, but a commitment that is basically as empty as the oil lamps of those careless young ladies and is merely a “going through the motions” without any content.

If we were to apply Jesus' parable in a succinct way, we might consider the final sentence, where the divine Bridegroom exhorts us to "stay awake". We ought not rest comfortably in God's grace, but rather realize our need each day to be alert to His coming more deeply into our lives.

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