Preparing for the Great Event

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A few weeks ago I was at a parish where the homilist began his talk explaining that there were two types of parables. (News to me!) There was the teaching parable. Many of these began: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like….” then Jesus would offer a story common to the Jewish life. Then there was the “mirror parable,” where the people, usually the chief priests and the elders could see themselves and their behavior reflected in the story (i.e. their pride, arrogance, their closed hearts and minds).

I think today’s gospel is a teaching one. Jesus took the joyous occasion of a wedding to stress preparedness for the “great event”–our wedding feast in His Kingdom.
Jewish weddings were a celebration–sometimes lasting for days at a time. Quite often they would begin at the bride’s home where her attendants, intimate female friends, spent a day or two “fussing” over her, preparing her to meet her bridegroom. Eventually, the bridegroom himself would come with his companions (friends) and having received the bride from her parents, the entire group would process to the groom’s home where the wedding would take place. To be chosen as an attendant was, indeed, an honor and with the honor came the responsibility to assist the bride in every way and that meant being prepared to accompany her in the lighted procession.

Vigilance and preparedness are the theme of the Gospel. We, the baptized, have been chosen to play a special role in the “nuptials of Christ with His Church.” Some of us, chosen followers, may forfeit our place at the nuptials in heaven through carelessness and laziness and not positive malice.
As had the intimate friends of the bride, we have accepted the invitation to be an intimate follower of Christ. Will we be found too careless to share in the wedding banquet of heaven? Will we take the time now to prepare ourselves by developing a relationship with Christ through prayer and the sacraments, by loving Him completely and our neighbor as ourselves?

In the end, we will stand before our Judge alone. We will not be able to make excuses or borrow meritfrom anyone else. Our intimate relationship with our Bride Groom, developed on this earth, will cause us to hear Him say not “I do not know you,” but, “Come in, My friend, and share My feast!”

Linda Caminiti