Be on the alert. Watch and pray. Be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom.
This is what the kingdom of heaven is like; it is to this that you have been called: to watch and wait for the Bridegroom, to enter with Him into the wedding feast.
By what wisdom shall you be prepared to meet Him?
It comes down to this, whether you have oil for your lamp or not.
You don't know how long the wait will be. You don't know the day or the hour when the Bridegroom will come. Be prepared, therefore, both day and night, waking, sleeping.
You will grow drowsy and sleep, not unlike the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane. All of the virgins do, both wise and foolish. But there is a difference between falling asleep in Jesus, in His peace and rest, and falling asleep in foolish unbelief, in the drowsiness of despair or the stupor of sin.
The difference is in the oil for your lamp: the anointing of Christ Jesus, the outpouring of His Holy Spirit. With it, you are prepared and enter in; without it, you are left out in the dark.
You know that Christ Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit in His Baptism, for the sake of your salvation. In that Spirit, from His Baptism, He met and resisted the devil's temptations. And when His Baptism reached its culmination in His Passion unto death, He was ready, watching and waiting in prayer, alert and prepared.
Now His Baptism, His Cross and Resurrection have become yours in your Holy Baptism, in which He has poured out His Holy Spirit generously upon you. By that oil of gladness, your lamp is fueled and burns brightly. You are made ready, because you are in Christ, and His readiness is yours.
So does your light shine before men, who see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. In fact, your light is a reflection of His own, because His Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.
It is by His Word of the Law that His Spirit guides you in the way you should go, in the way of justice and righteousness, in the way of peace and love.
But it is by His Word of the Gospel, specifically the Word of Absolution (the forgiveness of your sins), that the Lord Jesus breathes His life-giving Holy Spirit into you, and fills your lamp with that oil of gladness.
Get you, then, to the dealers, to the stewards of the Mysteries of God, to the ministers of the Word and Sacraments of Christ; to be replenished and prepared by the oil of His grace, mercy and peace. That is to say, keep listening to His voice of the Gospel, which is the voice of your Bridegroom, calling you to Himself, to His Supper.
He has already come from heaven to seek you out, to woo you like a lover, to make of you His holy Bride, by grace, and to prepare you for the wedding feast by His perfect righteousness; by His Cross and Resurrection.
He has been ready, when His day and hour came; and by His readiness, He has made all things ready (for you and your salvation).
He has submitted Himself to the somber sleep of death, in order to raise you up from death to life.
It is from His riven side, in death, that His Eve, His Bride, has been taken and fashioned for Him by the Father in love. It is from His riven side, not only in death but in His Resurrection from the dead, that He pours out the water, blood and Spirit of the Gospel, as oil for your lamp: the spiritual food and drink with which He fills His Table and His Cup for you.
Behold, the Bridegroom: your Bridegroom! He is at hand; come up to meet Him. He is here for you, in the wedding feast. Awake, O sleeper, rise from death. Eat, drink, and live!
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Homily at Evening Prayer (last night)
4 hours ago