First reading: Wisdom 6:12-16.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 62(63):2-8.
Second reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13.
Link to readings.
As we draw near to the end of the liturgical year, the readings are concerned with the end of time when Christ Jesus will return again and God's kingdom will reign. We are reminded to stay awake, to be ready to notice when and where God is present among us now.
The First Reading describes the beauty of Wisdom who seeks to comfort, strengthen and console those who look for her help in troubles and anxiety.
When God may seem distant, we cry out to the Lord with the Psalmist. We recall with praise the glory and strength that has helped us, and rejoice in the shelter of his loving presence.
The Second Reading tells us we can be quite sure that those who have died are risen with Jesus, so that we can be comforted by this hope, for them and for ourselves. At the end, we will all be with the Lord forever.
The Lord Jesus will come again but we must be patient, keeping the flame of our love and faith alive in our hearts. We may tire of waiting for him, but must be ready to wake up quickly to answer his call. We do not know the day or hour of his coming (Gospel).
This week, I pray to stay awake, ready to notice the presence of the Lord. In keeping close to him, I may lead others to a sense of the hope and faith we have, both in joy and when our lives are difficult.
Psalm: 62 (63)
As I come to pray, I take time to find stillness of mind and body.
I do not rush. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me as I pray.
Reading the psalm slowly, allowing its words and emotions to resonate within me, I make the psalmist's prayer my own.
Perhaps I notice the heartfelt longing of the psalmist.
I may like to express my own longings to the Lord, in the words of the psalm or in my own words.
What do I really want? I speak with the Lord.
My attention may be drawn to the joy of the psalmist: his whole body expresses a prayer of praise - lips, hands, mouth; he is filled 'as with a banquet'. What images come to mind from these verses?
I share them with the Lord.
Perhaps I, too, allow my body to express my joy.
Eventually, I come to rest 'in the shadow of his wings', remaining quietly present before the Lord for a while. Slowly I end my prayer with words of gratitude. 'So I will bless you all my life ... I rejoice!'
Matthew 25: 1-13
This week, I ponder this parable. It may take several days to explore the richness of Jesus's words. In whatever way I am drawn to pray, I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.
I may like to picture myself as one of the bridesmaids, or perhaps as someone waiting with them. Noticing what happens as the story unfolds, allowing myself to be drawn into the events, I share my thoughts and feelings with the Lord as I am moved.
What does it mean for me to wait? Am I patient and prepared for whatever may happen? Or am I anxious, tending to give up or to sort everything out in my own way?
I talk with the Lord about these moments in my life. What has the Lord to say to me?
What happens when I hear the cry,'The bridegroom is here!'? I may visualise the joy, the agitation, the different reactions of the girls. Am I ready to meet the Lord as he comes to me in my life? Again, I speak with the Lord from my heart, and listen to what he says to me.
I end my time of prayer asking the Lord for whatever grace I need.
Prepared by St Beuno's Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham