Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
"Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps" (Mt. 25:1-13)
We are in Matthew 25 and know that Matthew is coming to an end – the Great Commissioning.
My favorite Christian rapper Lecrae asks a question in his song Send Me. He does not ask about making disciples in all nations. His question: Have you made disciples in your neighborhood?
Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps’ (Matthew 25:5-7).
It’s “check your flask” Sunday and Lecrae’s question is our question, especially regarding young people in our neighborhood who are not connected to our church. Young people are looking for the bridegroom (aka Jesus) in our neighborhood. Are we asleep and unprepared to present the light the bridegroom has given to us? Five virgins were ready to carry the light through the neighborhood before the door was locked. We can approach this in two ways: as Lecrae did; with Barbara Mason’s message Are You Ready? from back in the day; or with the Temptations admonition, Get Ready!
Most of us are not packing a literal flask to light the neighborhood. Hopefully, we are coming in as the wise virgins did. There were two Samaritans who prepared as the virgins did; they sought out the Light, and at the appropriate time shared the Light. Why Samaritans? It is Black Catholic History Month, and the Samaritans were the Negroes of Jesus’ day. The Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4:1-42), not knowing that she was to encounter Jesus at the well, moved through a challenging lesson before witnessing and bringing thousands to the bridegroom with her witness. Then, there was The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), who was truly compassionate and generous, caring for an injured neighbor on the side of a dark and winding road. They were ready to bring the Light. There are two essential elements to sharing the Light: our conversation with Jesus, and the action of bringing the Light – the woman at the well, by her proclamation, and the Good Samaritan, by his action made a suffering stranger a friend by caring for him.
And the moment came: “the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked” (Matthew 25:10). Take a moment to start the month, looking at the life of one of our six candidates for sainthood. Look for the Samaritan Moments in their lives: capture their moment – internalize it – bring it to life in your neighborhood before the door closes. Shine your light by listening and inviting a young person into conversation and communion. Begin the month by filling your faith flask, and keep it topped off for the entire year. Fill yourself with faith. You know, if it’s too late for the young folk, it’s too late for us, too. See just how good God is! You are ready, so share your Light! HARAMBEE!
Author: Deacon Timothy Tilghman, the Deacon in the Neighborhood, St. Teresa of Avila Church, Washington, DC.