Devotional - Be Ready to Meet the Bridegroom When He Comes

Submitted by 

Rev. Kevin J. Martin, Pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish 

 The following is a reflection based on a gospel excerpt from last weekend’s Catholic Mass.  Jesus told his disciples this parable: “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!’” (Matthew 25:1-6)

From a faith perspective, as the calendar year and end of the year come to a close, many Christian communities reflect on the end times.  The earliest Christian communities were watching, waiting, wondering when the Lord would come back again.  Many even expected that Jesus would return again within their lifetime.  For the faithful Christian disciple, even in this age, there is also a sense of urgency, of the need to be prepared, to be ready to meet the Lord when he comes.  How can you and I prepare for His coming?  Will each one of us to be ready to meet the Lord when he comes?

If we look closely at this parable of the wise and foolish virgins, some were prepared for the bridegroom, while others were not.  The five wise virgins had plenty of oil in their lamps, whereas the five foolish ones were unprepared, not well-stocked.  How can we read this passage in light of our own faith journey?  Every human person waits in the in-between time…between the first coming of Jesus, and his final coming again in future glory.  The important point of this is how do we spend our time reflecting on how the Lord invites us to live?  How do we wait? The gospel indicates that some persons are better prepared than others to meet the Lord when he comes.

Those who have their lamps trimmed and their oil full are those who live a life of faith and live in the light of God’s grace, keeping their life centered on Jesus Christ.  The lamps being well trimmed and the oil fully ready are an intentional reference to the Christian disciple, who at their Baptism are entrusted with the Light of Christ.  During the Catholic ritual for Baptism, the candle that is lit from the Easter or Christ Candle is entrusted to the parents and godparents, if the person being baptized is within the age of reason, it is entrusted directly to them.  “This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ.  May they keep the flame of faith alive in their heart.  When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet Him with all the saints in His heavenly kingdom.”   The choice is ours.  We can live in the light of God’s grace and become wise or choose to live a life apart from God.  The better and more prudent choice is to live for God.

Some practical ways we can be ready to meet the Lord include, but are not limited to:  

Develop and sustain a life of prayer, each and every day.  Give God time, be intentional and spend quality with Him.  For Catholics, frequent the celebration of the Mass and pray with your community on a regular basis with your family.  Receive the sacraments of the Church to sustain your life with the Lord and His Church.   When necessary, seek forgiveness and receive God’s mercy through Reconciliation.  Exercise the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, those specific acts of virtue that pertain to both body and soul.  Study your faith and seek to understand it better.  Share your blessings of time and talents with others.  Be generous and give without counting the cost.

Ultimately, each and every person will one day meet the Lord.  It is not only crucial to live in the expectation of His coming at the end of time, but to be truly at peace and ready when he comes to call us to Himself.  Do not suffer from a “spiritual energy crisis.”  Rather, be like the five wise virgins – who chose wisdom and prudence, readying themselves to meet the Lord.  We should be ready, for we neither know the day nor the hour when the Lord will come and bring us to His kingdom!  May the Lord continue to give us opportunities to encounter Him so that we can be prepared to meet Him when He comes!  Amen, Come Lord Jesus.