Thursday, November 19, 2009

“And Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28.20)

With these words we finished the Gospel According to Saint Matthew. We are now on day 5 of our 40 Day New Testament Challenge and the reading is becoming harder to fit in. For instance, all this week I was able to read first thing in the morning and then offer a few humble words to this blog. Today, however, the clock found a way to escape me earlier and I was just now (3:00pm) getting a chance to read for the day. It wasn’t that the reading itself was hard, but today I encountered other obstacles that tempted me to put the reading aside for later reading, but I know I will not be awake enough to read the final chapters of the Gospel when I finally get home after two meeting tonight. So I placed my work aside for the moment and got reading….and I’m glad I did.

These comforting words by Christ (quoted in the title of today's blog) were given as He spoke to His disciples after the Resurrection to remind them that He would never abandon His Church. The Apostles believed this deeply that Christ and the Holy Spirit were directly connected to the experience of the Church and they believed fervently that Christ was going to return to claim His bride, the Church, for all eternity within their lifetime. Therefore the Church began a vigil waiting for Christ to return but as time passed it seemed like the bridegroom had been delayed.

We began today’s reading with the story of the “ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” (Matthew 25.1-5) But when the bridegroom finally did come only the wise were prepared to greet Him since the others had to go and purchase more oil. Christ says, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 5.13)

We should use this Advent period much like a corporation uses a working lunch. While we are waiting for Christ to return, let’s prepare ourselves to go out and meet Him. It may be tonight, and we should want to be ready for Him. If only the five foolish virgins realized they needed more oil and went out right away and bought some more oil…..they could have been back in time.

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