Prepare for the Banquet

If you knew a guest was coming to your home for dinner tonight, what would you do beforehand? I imagine you’d plan a menu, go shopping, cook, clean the house, and set the table. We’d do this because if our guests arrived and we were unprepared, we would be embarrassed, to say the least, and our guests would think we were very poor hosts.

Jesus tells us today that we need to prepare for his arrival, or more specifically, his second coming. As we heard in his parable of the wise and foolish virgins, this will be a cause of celebration for some, but a time of judgment for those who are unprepared. On the one hand, this parable is a source of hope, because it speaks of the wedding banquet of Jesus to which we’ve all been invited. At the same time, it’s also a call to repentance, conversion, and amendment of life.

Perhaps we might ask ourselves the question: If we knew that Jesus were coming today, what would we do? St. Francis of Assisi was once asked that question while he was working in a garden, and he said that if he knew that Jesus were coming, he’d continue working in his garden, because he was ready to meet him. Francis was at peace, because he was prepared. Jesus calls us to prepare today, that we might live in his peace, forever.

Readings for today’s Mass:

Image Credit: Carodean Road Designs via Creative Commons

4 Replies to “Prepare for the Banquet”

  1. We must seek Wisdom, and not merely knowledge, else we fall short of preparing for Christ, Wisdom Incarnate.

  2. This reading certainly is timely in light of the approaching hurricane.

    It seldom fails that despite warnings from authorities to evacuate there are those who insist on staying put. In situations where evacuation isn’t warranted, authorities warn that one should be prepared to “shelter in place” for up to three days without power and other utitilies – yet those warnings also are unheeded.

    It also never fails that those who ignore authorities’ warnings to evacuate expect to be rescued when they regret their decision. The ill-prepared complain about their pilgrimages to find ice to fill their refridgerators and functioning gas stations.

    The wise virgins told the foolish ones that they wouldn’t be sharing their oil because doing so would undermine their own preparedness. Similarly, those who fail to prepare appropriately for the impending storm are being told not to expect rescue.

    This reading, as was Msgr Pope’s article a couple of weeks ago on the responsiveness of priests, is a reminder that we are responsible for our own preparation. It’s not something anyone can do for us. Often a rescue from one’s poor planning is at the expense of another – even that other’s life.

    Rescue is not cheap, and we should not take it for granted.

  3. The image of the virgins falling asleep while awaiting the bridegroom brings up this memory of a trip to NC to visit my inlaws.

    Our daughter c was then a preschooler, and we expected her to conk out soon after we got onto the highway. We began our 6-hour trip about two hours before her usual bedtime.

    I looked back when we got onto the Beltway. c’s eyes were open, shining in anticipation of seeing Grandma.

    I looked back when we turned onto 66. c’s eyes were open, shining in anticipation of seeing Grandma.

    I looked back when we turned onto 29. c’s eyes were open, shining in anticipation of seeing Grandma.

    I looked back when we crossed over the NC border. c’s eyes were mostly open, shining in anticipation of seeing Grandma.

    Finally, 5 hours into our 6-hour trip, c’s eyes closed, despite all her efforts to the contrary.

    c KNEW we were going to see Grandma, but she didn’t understand how long it would take to get there, and that she could have allowed herself to drift off much earlier. c was excited and wanted to be ready to greet Grandma.

    We KNOW that someday we will see Christ, but we’re no more aware of when He will arrive than my preschooler was of the distance between home and Grandma. Even if we were told when Christ will come, we really wouldn’t be able to wrap our minds around it, any more than c could wrap her mind around the concept of “six hours.” It’s just as well that date is not for us to know; that way we’re forced to always be prepared, and not caught napping.

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