“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut.
Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“Be prepared!” This is the motto of the Boy Scouts. For Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in the United States, the motto means that the scouts should “always be in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
This motto is also the message of today’s Gospel. Why were some of the virgins prepared with oil for their lamps as they awaited the arrival of the groom while others were not? We don’t know. But the message applies to our spiritual life. We should always be in a state of readiness in mind and body to experience the presence and activity of God in our lives.
“Finding God in all things,” a core Ignatian principle, presupposes an attentiveness, an openness to receive the graces from God at any time and in any place.
“Are you prepared?!”
—Fr. Dan Reim, SJ, is campus chaplain at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH.
Lord, help us quiet our minds so that we can be attentive to what is around us. Open our hearts to be ready to receive your graces, no matter the time or place. May we always be prepared to see you in our lives.
—The Jesuit Prayer team