Readings: Amos 5:18-24, Matthew 25:1-13
The bridegroom comes; the banquet is prepared.
Today’s gospel urges diligence, and preparation as we wait for the coming bridegroom. The great wedding feast is being prepared; and we will either be ready, able to wake, rise, and by our light, join the bridegroom at his feast; or we will have no oil, left in the dark, unable to see our way when he comes.
As Christians, we wait prepared. The delay of the bridegroom does not worry us—our lamps are full of oil for the long, cold night. We have been given the needed resources to keep our lamps lit. In fact, we see and practice for his arrival as we gather each week.
The culmination of our life as Christians is at the table, where we meet Jesus at his wedding feast. It is a meal that is a foretaste of the feast to come. We meet Jesus, and all who are his, at this table when we share communion.
Each time we do this it is a proclamation of the reality that Christ has come into the world, for us, and called us to himself. He gives us forgiveness and his self—his presence in all aspects of our lives, through this meal.
That promise is for us today, but it is not complete. That’s why we call it just a foretaste of the feast to come; because, though we catch a glimpse of it now, the fullness of that presence and promise—eternal life in Christ—is still yet to be realized.
Our texts today urge diligence and preparation as we wait for our Lord’s coming—as we await the coming of the bridegroom.
Jesus’ advice to “keep awake” means knowing that a moment will arrive we are called upon to witness to Jesus Christ and his kingdom in our midst. The world is a dark place. But we are not without the light of Christ, we are not without oil in our lamps—because he has put it there for us.
Our witness to the kingdom of God, our keeping awake, means that we are ready to call out the injustice we see. It means that our lamps trimmed so we can witness to and shine forth the righteousness of God present here and now. It means that our lamps filled with oil so as to be ready for the long haul of resistance and persistence as we help, in the prophet Amos’ words, “justice to roll down like waters, righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
In baptism, we enter into these promises: to trust God, to proclaim Christ in word and deed, to care for others and the world God made, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.
This is the kind of keeping awake Jesus asks of us—to be ready to witness to him, live our baptismal promises; to see his kingdom in this world now, and be continue to long for the fullness of that kingdom to come.
At the table, we receive a foretaste of the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ. Christ fills our lamps for the long, cold night, where the world is hungry for peace, justice, and a witness to God’s kingdom. We see a glimpse of his justice and righteousness poured out in the wine we share, and in the bread that is broken for our sake. Justice and righteousness gets extended to where love and peace is shared in the face of hate and violence.
As we taste of the wedding feast, with every glimpse and witness to his kingdom in the world, we are reminded of the great promise of Jesus’ unyielding presence with us, of his unending love for us, of eternal life with him at the great banquet feast.
At the table, be fed by God’s presence. Let Christ fill your lamps, and keep the lamp trimmed through the night. Jesus is with you even through the coldest and darkest part of the night. Shine your lamp brightly for those around you to see.
And, finally, come to the table in thanksgiving for the promises of God received here, and for those promises which are still to come: when we will all gather around the table at his great wedding feast.
The bridegroom comes!