Jesus likes to talk about weddings. Today He tells us about waiting for the bridegroom to arrive so that the wedding feast could begin. Even though the groom was delayed, they were to be ready for his arrival and escort him into the wedding feast.
Five of them, however, are not ready. They had time to get ready! But they didn't feel the sense of urgency to do it the right away and were locked out of the feast. They begged to be let in. A voice replies. "Certainly not! I don’t know you." What a disturbing end to Jesus’ story! Those who thought they had it all worked out thinking that the others were just too serious and neurotic, in the end were the foolish ones locked out. What can we learn from this story of Jesus?
Jesus, the bridegroom, is coming. We don’t know precisely when, but He is definitely returning. It's clear that Jesus’ return has been delayed. The Apostles thought Jesus would come back during their lifetime. This parable of Jesus is all about waiting, being ready!
Jesus is telling us that God has graciously given this time of waiting so that everyone has a chance to get ready. He is delaying his return to give the church, you and I, time... to give every person in our Mass of the Air community a chance to hear about Jesus and to respond to the Good News. If you are a lapsed Christian or you don’t know Jesus and what He is offering then now is the time to do something about it.
For all sorts of reasons people stop going to church until eventually God has stopped being part of life. Faith is forgotten and children grow up without anyone showing them who God is. The words of Jesus in this parable shout at us saying that leaving everything to one day in the future may be just too late. "Watch out because you do not know when I will return," he says.
We will always be a lot like those foolish women and be less committed and prepared than Jesus requires. We are sinners and can’t help ourselves. So we turn to Jesus, we ask for His help, His forgiveness for our failure to be a committed disciple waiting for his return. And it is only because of Jesus that we will end up on the right side of the closed door.
It is written no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love Him.
We ask Jesus to keep us alert to living as members of His family, to forgive the times when we say "Someday I’ll get around to it".
Preached by Deacon Gerry Mattingly on the Mass of the Air to be broadcast on November 12, 2017