There are only a few Sundays left before the new liturgical year, and so we hear readings about time. Matthew’s community was interested in the end time, when the Kingdom would arrive and the Lord would return in glory. Within that picture they were interested in judgment — the eternal destiny of the dead. So today we hear the familiar story of the 10 virgins waiting for the arrival of the wedding party, and of the five of them who forgot to fill their oil lamps. Note that there are two references to sleep in this parable: As they waited, “they all became drowsy and fell asleep.” And at the end of the parable: “therefore stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Being asleep is a rich metaphor in both our spiritual and psychological literature. Pastoral ministers frequently meet hospital patients “waking up,” people who, suddenly faced with serious illness, review their lives and see for the first time what they should have seen before. Routine, busyness, fatigue and other things make it so easy to sleep walk through life. Spiritual practices like the Examine, journaling and meditation all take time, but they are invaluable to staying spiritually awake and alert to where we are in our relationships with self, God and others.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia