Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

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"The Kingdom of heaven will be like this"

Ii is important to remember that the parable of the ten bridesmaids is offering yet another insight into the reality the Reign of God's love in our lives. Earlier parables illustrated dramatically the unfathomable nature of God's love for us - utterly unmerited, totally freely given, sheer grace. Today's parable speaks more of us, the recipients of that love: quite simply, love calls for a response and the Lord will hold us to account for our personal effort or failure to live his love. Then comes the stark reminder - you do not know when that reckoning will be, so be prepared.

So stay awake, Jesus commands; be ready. Our readiness - having oil - means obeying Jesus' teachings. It means living the life of the kingdom as outlined in the Sermon of the Mount, when he described the wise person as the one who "hears these words of mine and acts on them." Being ready, then, means to welcome him, not only in the breaking of bread, but in the brokenness of our neighbour. It means showing compassion, being a peacemaker, being concerned for truth and for justice. It means recognising him in those with whom we live and work, especially in the suffering, the broken-hearted, those whose spirit is crushed.

This is the responsibility of each individual. It is something each of us must work at during our lifetime. We cannot borrow it at the last moment. The fruits of a faithful following of Jesus, the 'oil for the lamp', are not transferable as material goods might be.