A Daily Gospel Reflection by Dn. Mike Hidalgo for September 1st, 2023.

The Holy Gospel according to Matthew (25:1-13)

“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.”

Reflection:  I remember several years ago a priest began his homily by asking the congregation, by a show of hands, “Who wants to go to heaven?”  Of course, everybody raised their hand.  He immediately followed up that question by asking, “How many want to go tomorrow?”  Of course, everybody put their hands down immediately.  We all want to go to heaven at the end of our life, but only on our timetable, not God’s timetable.  The Gospels for the past two days have been about second coming of the Lord.  This is something we pray for 2 times during the mass.  The first time during the Creed.  We say, “He will COME AGAIN in Glory to judge the living and the dead.”  The second time during the Memorial Acclamation…” Until you COME AGAIN.”  If we pray for the coming of the Lord, it is our responsibility to always be ready, because we do not know the time when the Lord will come again.  Yesterday and today the Gospel said, “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  

Today we hear the parable of the 5 wise virgins and the 5 foolish virgins who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom.  When the cry came that the bridegroom was coming, the 5 wise virgins had enough oil for their lamps.  The 5 foolish virgins had to leave to buy some oil.  By the time they returned, it was too late.  The doors to the wedding feast were locked.  They pleaded to be admitted into the feast, but the Lord told them that He did not know them. 

God created us to be in heaven with Him in the end.  God did not create us NOT to be with Him.  God also gave us the gift of free will.  It is our choice to accept or reject his grace, his offer of friendship.  The Lord takes our freedom to choose very seriously.  He never forces our will and never imposes himself on us.  He only invites us to make a free choice of love and obedience to him and to live a Christian life.  We must choose to remain steadfast in the way of Christian life.  God cannot save us without our cooperation.  I am reminded of the picture of Jesus standing and knocking at a door.  The door does not have a door handle on the outside. The handle is on the inside.  The door represents our hearts.  It is up to us to open the door from the inside and let Jesus into our hearts.  We are constantly being invited by his grace.  We are called to be ready all the time.  Our Lord is telling us, ready or not, here I come!

Action for the Day:  Today and every day, pray for God’s grace to help us live for Him.  St. Augustine said, “Beware of the grace of God that passes and does not return.”  We are called to be like Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared” because we do not know the day or the hour when the Lord will call us. 

Audio Reflection:

women wearing pink dresses and men wearing black suit jacket and pants raising hands with red heart balloons

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