By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ WISDOM 6:12-16 FIRST READING
(“He who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed.”)
- What is resplendent and unfading, readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her? Wisdom 6:12
- In what did Jesus advance? Luke 2:52
- With what two things are reputable men filled? Acts 6:3
- In anticipation of men’s desire, what does wisdom do? Wisdom 6:13
- Whose name has Jesus made known, and what will Jesus make known? John 17:25-26
- What will happen to those who watch for wisdom at dawn? Wisdom 6:14
- What should we not reject, and what makes a man happy? Proverbs 8:32-34
- What is the perfection of prudence, and how can we be free from care? Wisdom 6:15
- Who is wisdom seeking? Wisdom 6:16
- Who is most worthy of honor? Hebrews 3:3
- In what way can we live a life worthy of the calling we have received? Ephesians 4:1-3
Personal – Look back to when you made your First Holy Communion and write down on a piece of paper the ways you have grown in wisdom since then. When you awake in the morning, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Make a conscious effort to seek after her this week.
THIRD DAY READ 1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18 SECOND READING
(“Thenceforth, we shall be with the Lord unceasingly.”)
- Who would have you be clear about those who sleep in death? To whom are they speaking, and for what reason? 1 Thessalonians 1:1 4:13
- From where do we derive our hope? Romans 15:4
- What do we not have when we are without God in the world? Ephesians 2:12
- If we believe that Jesus died and rose, what will God do? 1 Thessalonians 4:14
- What helps us believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and what gives us life? John 20:30-31
- What will those who live, who survive until his coming, be without? 1 Thessalonians 4:15
- What will the Lord do at the word of command and with what sound? What will happen to those who have died in Christ? 1 Thessalonians 4:16
- If we obey the commands of Jesus, what will he do? John 14:15-16
- After those who have died in Christ rise, what will happen to the living, the survivors? 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- With what are we to console one another? 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Personal – What do you know about the personality of God that makes you look forward to being with him unceasingly?
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 25:1-13 GOSPEL
(“Keep your eyes open, for you know not the day or the hour.”)
- To what can the reign of God be compared? Matthew 25:1
- What were they like? Matthew 25:2
- How are we not to act, and what are we to try to discern? Ephesians 5:15-17
- What did the foolish bridesmaids, in taking their torches, not bring, and what did the sensible ones bring? Matthew 25:3-4
- What happened to the bridesmaids when the groom delayed his coming, and what happened at midnight? Matthew 25:5-6
- What did the foolish bridesmaids say to the sensible ones, and what was their reply? Matthew 25:7-9
- What happened when the foolish bridesmaids went off to buy some oil, what happened to the sensible ones, and what was barred behind them? Matthew 25:10
- What happened when the other bridesmaids came back, and what did the master say? Matthew 25:11-12
- What is the moral to the story? Matthew 25:13
- What will every eye see, even those who pierced him? Revelation 1:7
Personal – In what way have you been preparing for the coming of the Lord? Do you have a reserve of oil so that the light you are carrying stays lit day and night?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 63:2-8
(“O God, you are my God whom I seek,”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 63:2-8.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
The book of Wisdom was written about 150 B.C. It was written in Greek, and was, therefore, excluded from the Jewish canon. We have been told in this reading that wisdom is recognized by those who love the truth and seek true knowledge. The man who searches for true wisdom and really hungers and thirsts for it will not have far to seek. Today wisdom is ever present to the man or woman who seriously and prayerfully thinks on life and its value.
Today’s reading really brings us to that age-old question, “What is truth?” Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth, and the life. Today some people are like a hitchhiker hoping someone will give him a ride. When asked where he was going, he said, “I don’t know.” When questioned where had he been? He again answered, “I don’t know.” People like this are on a journey that goes only from the cradle to the grave. Their main purpose in life is to fit into these short years all the pleasures that this world has to offer. The rise of secularism in our countries has brought about a tremendous decline in the moral and spiritual life of millions of people. Today many people want to fit as much fun and leisure as possible into their life.
There still is a high degree of apathy, apostasy, and anarchy in our struggling group of nations. Much of this humanism, self-gratification, and my-way theology has had an enormous impact on the concept and lifestyle of the Christian family.
We have had 21 centuries of Christianity from which to learn the clear meaning of life which Christ’s life, death, and resurrection brought into the world. This true knowledge, this true wisdom is within the reach of all peoples. We need to use our gifts, which have come from God, and reach out to those around us. Let us respond to his call with prayer, study, and action (liturgy, penance and Holy Eucharist). They will know we are Christians by the way we share our life and time and give spiritual support.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18
In this reading, Paul wants the Thessalonians to know that death is not the end of the story for Christians. They were very much concerned about what would happen to their fellow believers who had died before Christ returned. Paul states to them that when Christ returns all believers, both dead and alive, will be reunited, never to suffer or die again. Paul also reveals to us a teaching that was given to him by Christ or passed along by word of mouth by the apostles to other Christians.
These words of Paul were a tremendous help to the Thessalonian people, and they challenge us today to comfort and encourage one another when one of our loved ones has died. The same love that unites believers in this life will unite others when Christ returns and reigns forever. We must always remember what we are told in Scripture, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Because Jesus came back to life, so will all those who believed in him. Every faithful Christian, both living and dead, will enjoy the reward of being in the full presence of the living God for all of eternity. Think about what will happen on that tremendous day of judgment. All believers in Christ who are dead will rise from their graves. All believers who are alive will be lifted into the clouds and meet Christ. We do not need to despair when a loved one dies or even when world events take a dark turn for the worse. God will turn our sorrows into triumphs, our poverty to riches, our sickness into health, our pain to glory, and our defeat into victory.
All of God’s children will stand once again united in the incredible presence of God. We will be safe and secure for all eternity. Paul gave great hope and comfort to the people with the promises of the resurrection. Today you and I are called to comfort and reassure one another with this great hope. Let us always remember the “Good News” is a message of hope and the message of “Jesus.”
Jesus tells us in today’s reading that it is very important to be prepared for his return and to live in his commandments until he comes. We are taught through the story of the ten bridesmaids that accountability will be expected of all believers with no exceptions. We are taught that every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual condition. Jesus is telling what will happen on that day of his return to some of those whom he has chosen and to whom he had given every opportunity to reach their one and only goal.
The bridesmaids in the story were chosen for a great honor, and they were expected to be ready when the celebration began. The bridesmaids were generally intimate friends of the bride who went through a lot of trouble to prepare for the occasion, and yet, through carelessness, were found unworthy to share in the festivities.
Jesus describes this incident to bring home to his listeners the need to be constantly prepared for his return. The invitation that Christians receive is the Sacrament of Baptism. The Christian starts on the road to heaven and he gets his invitation to the heavenly nuptials, but this is only the beginning. He is expected from the time of reason to prepare himself by living in accordance with God’s law. “Abide in me and keep my commandments and I will abide in you.” (John 15:7)
To abide means to take up residence or to live with or in another. We are to live in Christ by keeping his commandments and that means to love him with all our heart and soul, mind, and strength. We are also to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The call will come for each one of us, and we will be held accountable for our lives and our preparedness. Do not be like the foolish bridesmaids who did not plan and then through carelessness missed the great event. Today, fall on your knees and pray for the Holy Spirit to let his fire fall upon you. Let the Lord have your offering of a contrite spirit, a heart that is humble and contrite (Psalm 51:13). It is up to you, filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, to decide where you will be found on the last day. Will you be with the wise bridesmaids or with the foolish ones?
The first reading revealed that truth is the core of wisdom and knowledge. The second reading showed the strength of being able to hope. The Gospel shows us that we are to prepare and act on our preparations.
This week, at the end of every day, evaluate your actions and their results. Be accountable and honest with yourself. See how you are walking with the Lord. Write down what the Lord is saying to you regarding your accountability to him. He will help you to take action to be prepared for anything.