27 August 2010 Memorial of St. Monica
1 Corinthians 1, 17-25; Psalm 33; Matthew 25, 1-13
The lesson in today’s Gospel is constant watchfulness or vigilance in preparation for the coming of Christ. Here is the context of the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids.
In the Palestinian wedding, the groom sets out to the bride’s house to make the marriage contract with his father-in-law. When the groom returns to his home with his bride, the wedding feasts begins. The bridesmaids are suppose to meet the groom and the bride as they approach the house. While the groom signs the contract and asks his father-in-law for the bride’s hands in marriage, the bridesmaids are suppose to wait.
The arrival is delayed and so the foolish bridesmaids thinks that he will not arrive at night. So they make no provisions for lighting their torches, while the wise ones have. Unfortunately, the groom arrives unexpectedly and the foolish cannot find extra oil for their lamps. As they look for replenishments, the bridegroom arrives at his house, locks the door, and begins the wedding feast. When the bridesmaids returned, the groom refused entrance.
There are many ways to prepare for the Lord’s surprise visit. We may prepare for the time of our death when we meet the Lord in the next life. And so we secure our future by investing on some properties for our families. We also prepare by pursuing success in our professional lives. We even begin to plan for our children, whether we enter into educational plans or even memorial plans. But Confucius once said that success in our professional lives may not be necessarily what our heart yearns.
Let me illustrate with a story. Three field mice live in a huge track of land. Preparing for winter, the first mouse collects grain and seeds and places them in one corner of their burrow. The second mouse concerns himself with shelter from the terrible cold. And so he piles hay at their burrow. The third mouse, however, spends time watching the sky, taking a walk around the field, and if he gets exhausted, he rests under the shade.
So the two mice ridicule him, saying, “You are a very very lazy mouse! You don’t prepare for the coming winter!” But the third mouse did not dignify their comments.
When winter comes, the three mice live cozily. They have everything they want. They have food to survive them the whole winter. They are protected by the stack of hay from the severe cold. As days pass, the three become bored. And so the third mouse begins to tell them of the things and the people he saw around the field when they were gathering grains. He tells them about the little boy who played with rice stalks while his father was harvesting. He tells them of the grasshoppers in the field and the plants that turn greener as the sun rises.
The two mice then realize that the third mouse was collecting sunshine stories that would light up their lives during the whole dark season of winter.
Now let us ask you this question: How do you prepare for the coming winter of your life? What preparations have you done for the eventual coming of Christ in your life?