Scripture: Lectionary 429. Aug. 30th I Thessalonians 4:1-8.  Psalm 97: 1.2.5-6.10.11-12.  Matthew 25:1-13:

Parables are meant to be pondered over and applied to our lives. Jesus is known for his parables and Matthew is known for handing on to us those parables that speak of the kingdom of God.  I was led to apply the parable to myself and to the first reading which spoke to me about faith and consistency. The five wise and prudent virgins are similar to the community members at Thessalonica.  Both are focused on the Lord through faithful waiting and careful preparation in some fundamental moral attitudes like prudence, attentiveness to the task at hand, and diligent listening to the instructions they have received.

Paul continues to support and exhort the believers to remain and stand firm in their faith; he encourages them to grow in that faith in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It seems that he is conveying to them what the Council of the apostles and leaders of the Church decided in Jerusalem for those Gentiles who would be led to believe in the Gospel.  Paul has already been working with them for half dozen years at Thessalonica and he sees the fruit of his apostolic labors.  They are observing what he has commanded them by abstaining from all forms of immorality;  they have been catechized and instructed in what the Christian beliefs in Jesus are. Paul exhorts them to keep growing in that faith that is the gift of the Spirit. Again, in this short excerpt he mentions the Trinity: God as Father, the Son as Lord and Anointed one, the Holy Spirit as the source for their gifts of faith, hope, and love.

Paul’s instructions were only a start and a foundation. Now he exhorts them to really live out their Christian lives through faith, hope, and love.  Paul is insistent and consistent in his message in this first letter ever written by a New Testament author.  They are his spiritual children now and he will nurse them to grow in the fullness of Christ.

The message is also directed to us. We must be like the five prudent and wise virgins who are ready for the coming of Christ or who are attentive to Jesus’ words and presence in our lives.  We have the oil burning in our lamps and enough more for any delay of the second coming of the Lord.  Perhaps, our prayer for today is the mantra :MARANATHA or “Come, Lord Jesus come!”

Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.