Matthew 25:1-13 (NRSV)
Chapter 25"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Verse 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Verse 3When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; Verse 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. Verse 5As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. Verse 6But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Verse 7Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. Verse 8The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' Verse 9But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' Verse 10And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Verse 11Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' Verse 12But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Verse 13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
A reflection and prayer:
I thought I was ready for you.
Clearly I am not.
I come with anger. You come with joy.
I want comfort. You come with the sword.
I want answers, you come with questions.
I want chariots, you come on donkeys.
I thought I was ready for you to appear.
I thought my lamp was trimmed and burning bright enough.
And yet, here you are, appearing to me again and again without recognition:
In lonely jail cells.
In loud courtrooms.
In tense chat rooms.
In annoying phone calls.
In the people that I love and the people that I struggle to love.
I thought that I had read enough about your game of “hide and seek” in the ones who are called the “least of these.”
I thought I had sung enough about your ability to lift up the low places.
And yet, I am reminded now, once again,
I am not ready for you.
Make me ready Jesus.
Train my eye to see your distressing disguises.
Train my ears to hear your muzzled whisper.
Train my heart to welcome your broken body.
And as my lamp burns dimmer and dimmer, keep me awake.
And make me ready Jesus.