Coming to an End

Dear Parishioners & Visitors,

Everything comes to an end. While we walk on this earth nothing lasts forever: a building falls either because of an earthquake or demolition, a relationship ends either because those in the relationship decide to do so or because one leaves or dies, and so on. Normally, when something ends we all grieve. In grieving we see our pain and try to embrace it. But even grief comes to an end, otherwise our lives would be paralyzed by the loss and the pain.

We are also coming to an end of the second part of ordinary time and with it also the end of our liturgical year. For this reason, we hear in the Scriptures a constant call to be prepared for that final moment; for instance, we hear in the gospel today "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Jesus constantly insists in the need to be prepared to face those ending moments, those final moments where the will not be more time and in which our preparedness is crucial to enter into a new moment. Of course the one definitive ending of our existence on this earth is death, a moment that requires preparation to enter into the reality of the resurrection, the moment we enter into God's presence in all fullness.

In the parable of the ten virgins in which he depicts five who were foolish (unprepared) and five who were wise (prepared), Jesus teaches not only about the need to be prepared but also about what is needed for that preparation to take place. In the parable, there are two main elements needed for one to be prepared: awareness and wisdom. Awareness of our realities is necessary not to take for granted that something or someone form this world will last forever. Awareness of our own limitations, failures and successes. This kind of awareness leaves us always with the sense that there is something and someone greater than us which instill in us hope.

Wisdom is also necessary to be able to be prepared the best way possible. It is precisely wisdom that helps us to see the will of God in the midst of all situations. Wisdom helps us to see what is in our hands and what is in the hands of others and God. Wisdom allows us to identify and to do the work we need to do to be ready for that final moment which is in itself an end but also a new beginning.

As we approach the end of the liturgical year, we are invited by the word of God to look back and see in which ways the Lord is inviting us to be prepared for that final moment in which we will meet him face to face, to give thanks to him for his work in us and to recommit ourselves to work on those things we need to work on to have enough oil for our lamps to remain lit until he comes.

-fr. Jorge Rátiva, O.P.