Be ready to do God’s will

In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks about the 10 virgins, five of whom were wise and the other five foolish.

Nov 10, 2023

Reflecting on our Sunday Readings with Bro Jonathan Rao

32nd Sunday in
Ordinary Time (A)
Readings: Wisdom 6:12-16
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13

The wedding banquet is a favourite theme in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and New Testament. Wedding banquets were the happiest events where people gathered together to celebrate. These banquets were used to describe what heaven is. In the Old Testament, God is the bridegroom whereas in the New Testament, the bridegroom is Jesus Christ. However, no individual bride is mentioned. While the bride in the Old Testament is Israel, the people of God; the bride in the New Testament is the redeemed people of God. Being admitted into the wedding feast was considered great blessedness.

In the Gospel today, Jesus speaks about the 10 virgins, five of whom were wise and the other five foolish. The foolish virgins were not prepared to welcome the bridegroom; therefore, they were cast out of the wedding banquet. This was a warning given to the people of that time, and today as well, it is a warning for us. In order to be admitted into the wedding banquet, we need to be prepared. And what is the preparation? In Matt 7:21-22, Jesus says, “It is not those who call ‘Lord, Lord,’ who will enter the Kingdom of heaven but those who do the will of my Father in heaven.” On that day, many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, but then I will tell them, you evildoers, go away from Me. I do not know you.” The foolish virgins also called “Lord, Lord” but the bridegroom said, “I do not know you.” In both instances, we see the same words used. “I do not know you.” So, who are those admitted to the wedding banquet? It is those who do the will of the Heavenly Father. We need to be prepared in order to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

For a better illustration, I would like to share with you a story. One evening, while I was sitting on the veranda, I noticed a young girl, who happened to be my neighbour, standing at the front gate of her house. I noticed that she had long been standing there, all by herself. Curious, I asked her what she was doing there. She replied that her mom was about to come home and so she was waiting eagerly for her mom’s arrival. As the evening was getting dark, I advised her to stay inside the house but she insisted that her mom would come home anytime soon and she wanted to be the first to help open the gate. Her excitement related to receiving her mom was filled with faith and joy. Her mom arrived within a couple of minutes and the girl immediately opened the gate on hearing the car horn. This incident taught me about preparedness, and this is precisely the Gospel message in the parable of the 10 virgins. This should be our attitude as we wait on Christ to do His work. For this, we need the spiritual oil (faith, hope, courage, patience, etc) to stay vigilant and the wisdom of God to make the right choice.

Indeed, we must be ready to do the will of the heavenly Father; this is how we prepare ourselves to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Before making important decisions, we must ask this question: Is this the will of my God? And in every situation, we shall be asking the question: Am I right with God? Being right with God should be our determination in our life. If we are not right with God, we will be cast out. And Jesus ends the parable by saying, “Therefore stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour.” And how do we stay awake? It is by doing God’s will at every moment of our lives. This parable is a warning for every one of us. Our one determination or one concern should be to search for God’s will and do it. In everything that we do and in major decisions that we make, we should be ready for the wedding banquet of the Kingdom of heaven.

Since it is unavoidable that everyone of us will have to encounter the end of our earthly lives, it is vital that we prepare ourselves properly for our meeting with the Lord, that is, for the coming of the bridegroom. Now is the time for us to repent of selfishness, pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth, and carry out the works of God i.e. works of charity, mercy and justice. We are also exhorted to forsake the wisdom and foolishness of this world. The way of the world leads to death whereas the way of the Lord leads to life. Let us be prepared to wait on the Lord in doing His will always so that we might follow our Lord Jesus, the bridegroom, into his wedding banquet, which is made present to us in this life in the sacrificial banquet of the Holy Eucharist.

(Bro Jonathan Rao is a fourth year Theology student from the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.)

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