Gospel reflection – 32nd Sunday
Keep your Oil topped up (Matt 25:1-13)
Some people get a bit sore about this parable of the sensible and foolish bridesmaids. They feel it was very selfish of the ones who had oil in their lamps not to share it with others. But that is to miss a very important part of the lesson. There is a light that cannot be borrowed. There are some tasks you must do for yourself. Nobody can do your believing for you. By all means you can pray for another person. But ultimately one must make the personal decision to believe in God. Jesus saw the faith of the friends who carried the crippled man through the roof to him. But it was the cripple himself who had to obey the command of Jesus to stand up and walk. There is a light that cannot be borrowed.
“Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your Master is coming.” God comes to us every day. God shares life and light and love with us every day. Prayerfulness is the art of being alert to God’s presence in our lives. Daily prayer keeps your oil topped up. For some, prayer is like a crutch they take up when they need it. But for others, prayer is as much part of life as the leg is part of the body. Their faith is always awake. Saint John Damascene expressed it beautifully: “Prayer is a gift that God gives to those who pray.”
The old Celtic prayers showed great awareness of God in every action of the day. There were blessings at the lighting of the fire, milking the cow, in times of sickness … prayers for everything. Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ above me, Christ below me, Christ in my rising, Christ in my sitting, Christ all around me. What a pity that we have neglected the richness of the Celtic spirituality of constant alertness to God’s presence.
A lovely way to end a day is reflecting on a gift from God that came your way this day. A beautiful scene, a flower, music, a helpful person in a shop, a nice meal, a moment of prayer … the list is endless. Gratitude comes from awareness of our gifts, and gratitude is the heart of prayer.
“O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.” (Responsorial Psalm)