Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
I should have checked this passage before I volunteered for today's reflection. Forget the dramatic horrors in Apocalypse, or the doom and gloom prophecies of Jeremiah; as far as I'm concerned, this parable is the scariest part of the entire Bible.
I'm terrified of being one of the virgins who isn't prepared. The one who spaced out and didn't bother refilling the oil, the one who tries to wheedle her one-time friend for help and is refused because she doesn't deserve assistance, the one who faces a closed and locked door and is left in the cold, dark street. For an extrovert who is usually good at friendship, this glimpse of completely justified rejection leaves me a little panicky. So I read the passage again and start strategizing. All I have to do is have enough oil, right?
Great. And what's the oil when it's not in a parable? According to a few of the Church Fathers, the lamps each of us carry are our good works. The wise virgins do good works for the sake of the love of God and others, and therefore their lamps are filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit. The foolish virgins, on the other hand, do good things only out of a desire for praise, or glory, or to check a box. They haven't cared about receiving grace; they haven't been motivated by faith, hope, and charity; and so their lamps are empty when it really matters.
Ouch. I'm as prone as any of us to giving myself a pass for doing good things, but not really caring about my motives. This passage is a wakeup call to check our motivations, and work on purifying them. To be charitable because the other person is a child of God; to set aside time for prayer because God asks it of me; to make a small sacrifice because it's the right thing to do.
And then, hopefully, we'll all be welcomed into the feast.
What is one good action today that I can use to pause, analyze my motivations, and try to improve them if they fall short?
Dear Lord, please help me to always desire and seek Your grace. Guide my heart so my motivations are pure. And help me keep my lamp filled so I can enter heaven and be with You forever.
Copyright 2020 Rebecca W. Martin
About the Author
Rebecca's love of the written word led to her current roles as associate editor of trade books at Our Sunday Visitor, and Daily Gospel Reflections editor at CatholicMom.com. She is a nerdy Catholic, book addict, Shakespeare fangirl, amateur baker, and musician. Follow @NerdCornerBooks on Instagram for book recommendations.