Pay Attention

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 8, 2020 – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 25:1-13

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We might place today’s gospel about the wise and foolish virgins in a file called “practical advice.” Today, Jesus might have said to make sure we have enough gas in our car if we were about to take a long drive. Or enough cash in the bank to pay our bills. In other words, practical stuff. Plan for the future, especially if it contains uncertainties.

But there’s another message that might be missed. One that reminds us to be constantly ready for when an opportunity comes to be more Christian, more spiritual, more alive in response to God’s invitation. More aware of God’s gift of life to us.

And that could happen at any time. Awareness of God’s close and loving presence is not a scheduled event. Nor does it happen only in certain places. No, it is always and everywhere possible. And that is the deeper message of today’s gospel. The bridegroom (God) might come at any time. So always be ready. Always be expectant. Always be alert.

A trusted spiritual practice involves placing oneself in a setting of silence. When we quiet the noise around us, we open our ears and hearts to hear the more subtle and quieter sounds coming our way. These may not be not be audible sounds but rather like the quiet wind passing by that is felt only when you attend to its presence. When outside distractions are eliminated, increased awareness of what’s right around us and inside us is gained. We notice more of all that’s there, including ourselves. And God’s Spirit!

I spent part of my younger days living a monastic life. Most of the day was spent in silence. It was in that setting that I learned that I had an interior life. My senses became more attuned to the environment in which I sat, or to the outside world that I walked in. I learned to listen for the quiet voice of God.

Given the omnipresence of television broadcasting, cell phone calling and inviting social media, there might well be too much “noise” in our daily lives. God’s immediate
“words” to us might be muted by too much external noise. As we enter a time when there is more darkness than light, we might take the opportunity to add more contemplative quiet to our lives. Be ready. God might be wanting our attention at any time with some good words to bring us greater peace and happiness. If we are listening.

©David M. Thomas, PhD

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