September 1st, 2017
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 429

1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
Psalm 97:1 and 2b, 5-6, 10, 11-12
Matthew 25:1-13
Praying Ordinary Time

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In our culture we are used to a carefully planned life. For some people every step of their day is recorded in advance in their computer or smart phone and this does have some advantages. But it also has at least one disadvantage: it allows us to know how long we can procrastinate before getting down to business.

Today’s parable is a warning against adopting such attitude in our relationship with God. A conveniently designed or imagined pseudo-God could be programmed. We “know” when and where to meet that God: Sunday mass, visit to the tabernacle... We also know that we have to prepare ourselves, if or when serious illness occurs. But in between it is “our time”.

The parable reminds us that all of our life is God’s time, that a true God (as opposed to an imagined pseudo-God) is a God of surprises that remains unprogrammable and that consequently the only adequate readiness is a wholehearted desire for a life-commitment to God. The emphasis here is on wholehearted, because there exists also a half-hearted type of commitment that may satisfy us and the pre-conceived demands of our designed pseudo-God, but a commitment that is basically as empty as the oil lamps of those careless young ladies and is merely a “going through the motions” without any content.

Yet the emphasis has to be also on desire, because, as long as we are human, the implementation of our desires is always going to be less than flawless. It is our heart’s desire for commitment that comes from God and that counts before God.

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