David Garrick as Richard III,
Painting by William Hogarth (1697-1764),
Painted in 1745,
Oil on canvas
© Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

David Garrick as Richard III,
Painting by William Hogarth (1697-1764),
Painted in 1745,
Oil on canvas
© Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Gospel of 12 November 2023

The wise and foolish virgins

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

Reflection on the painting

Today’s Gospel reading reminds me of something that we used to do when I was studying in seminary. The night before an important exam, many of us would stay up late to cram in any material into our heads. We sometimes said we were ‘burning the midnight oil’. But whenever we did this, we knew it wasn’t going to work well. We realised it was too late to be well prepared.

Today’s story of the wise and foolish virgins teaches us indeed a good spiritual lesson, that we need to be well prepared with the oils and that the preparation for the second coming of Christ cannot be left to the last minute. This preparation goes beyond for example taking an extra sweater for a long walk outside, or preparing by wearing the right boots: spiritual preparation goes beyond the merely practical. It is all about collecting and gathering enough oil to keep our inner light burning. The oil in our parable is the good deeds we perform and the kindness we extend to others. The kinder we are, the more oil we gather, so to speak.

Maybe we could even compare it to an ‘understudy’ at the theatre or a ‘reserve player’ in a sports team. When they are asked to play and perform, they have already put in plenty of preparation and learned their parts; otherwise, they could not be ready for the play. The understudy or reserve player who becomes a star overnight has already put in all the work beforehand.

Our painting depicts the actor David Garrick in the role of Richard III in Shakespeare’s play. In fact it records his performance in the radically adapted version of Colley Cibber, whose Richard III held the stage from 1700 until 1896. It depicts a dramatic moment in the play on the eve of the Battle of Bosworth (1485). Richard III, who had been asleep in his tent on the battlefield, has just woken from a dream in which he has seen the ghosts of the opponents he had previously murdered. The painting shows David Garrick with fear and concern, one arm raised and with a shocked expression on his face. Hogarth was a friend of Garrick, who had gained a degree of fame through his portrayal of Richard III at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. Garrick both debuted upon the London stage, and retired from acting, in the role of Richard III. He was an understudy first, before being called to perform his first big role for which he had prepared his whole life.

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Elvira Hernandez
Member
Elvira Hernandez(@elvira_siempre)
24 days ago

Hoy es un poco tarde. He leído con interés todas vuestras aportaciones. Y quiero añadir algo más.
Esta parábola, como todas, está relacionada de la vida cotidiana: una boda.
Jesús quiere que acojamos el Reino que llega con Ël con la alegría con la que se prepara una boda. El Dios de Jesús prepara una fiesta para recibirnos, el Dios de Jesús quiere la felicidad para toda la humanidad. Pero ¿estamos preparados para la fiesta? Durante la espera dice Jesús que todas las jóvenes se durmieron, la diferencia es que las prudentes si estaban preparadas para encender las luces y alumbrar el camino para llegar a la fiesta.
Rezo para que la oración y la Palabra sean el aceite que de luz a mi lámpara.
Y, ahora al caer de la tarde me uno en oración con todos vosotros y pongo ante el Señor vuestras intenciones. Rogad por mí

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago

What a great last paragraph, Elvira. Muchas gracias. Rezo por ti.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
24 days ago

I pray for you Elvira. Thank you for your comments today. Noelle and I are the only ones here in the evening (apart from you!)

Elvira Hernandez
Member
Elvira Hernandez(@elvira_siempre)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Por el día estoy un poco atareada. Ahora es cuando tengo un tiempo para mi y para el Señor

Elvira Hernandez
Member
Elvira Hernandez(@elvira_siempre)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Espero que tengas preparadas tus maletas. Hoy hace un día primaveral. El paseo de ésta mañana, antes de la Eucaristía ha sido maravilloso

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
24 days ago

Las maletas son preparadas. Mañana nos vamos! Cuando estámos en ciudades españolas vamos tomar el password del internet y enviar mensajes de nuestras aventuras en España!
Hasta la vista!

Last edited 24 days ago by Chazbo M
Elvira Hernandez
Member
Elvira Hernandez(@elvira_siempre)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

¡Buen viaje!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

We look forward to news from Spain. Have a great time.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

We wish you fair seas and following winds….🛳☀️🌊

Polly French
Member
Polly French(@pauline)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Safe travels Chazbo! A nice time of the year to get away. You may get the chance to visit some nice art galleries when you are away!

Polly French
Member
Polly French(@pauline)
24 days ago
Reply to  Polly French

Today’s Gospel seems very straightforward to me. We should always try to do good for our neighbour in whatever way we can! In this way, we will not be found wanting! That’s the theory… maybe not always so easy maybe in practice! 😳

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron(@silvya)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Que Dios y la Virgen los bendigan🙌

Anthony
Member
Anthony(@anthony)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

And me.

Silvia Moiron
Member
Silvia Moiron(@silvya)
24 days ago

Qué hermoso estar unidos en oración y en el amor de Dios✝️❤️🕊

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago

Excuse the mistake – anno domini?! Richard III was already king, but was about not to be!

Fulgentius B
Member
Fulgentius B(@carmel)
25 days ago

Note the crucifixion in the background. That would never happen today.
Please spare a prayer for a seemingly intractable problem. Thank you.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago
Reply to  Fulgentius B

As soon as I go on this, I find somebody in need of a loving prayer. It is you and this problem right now. My prayer is that the Good Lord will help you find a way through. Amen.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
25 days ago

I add my prayers to your Patricia.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago

The first reading today was very comforting to me, a questioner…No matter my doubts, if I’m seeking her – that is Wisdom -which I truly believe I am, I can lose that anxiety which often plagues me.
https://youtu.be/rx-M1PQX8Vs?si=Sy1fpCYFfDM6tSqG

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
25 days ago

Dear Janey, When I was going through a complete emotional meltdown about six months ago, the CA community and Father Patrick kept me going. May the huge heart of Jesus comfort you and strengthen you. I learned the meaning of redemptive suffering and how to offer up my pain for someone else. I pray that I might, in some small way, provide you with hope and love to get you through your difficulties. Mark

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

I hope things are easier for you Mark, maybe in small ways. I know the troubles I had for a long time may now becoming to an end. God is good if we let Him be.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Dear SFG, Yes, God is good, and walks with us through the valleys of trouble. I pray that you are coming into the light. Peace, Mark

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Yes Mark – we do not forget. You went through some real hurt and pain – you have lots lot..but NOT your faith 💟

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain(@mark_crain)
25 days ago

You are a blessing to me Patricia. With gratitude, Mark

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

That message to you was a bit garbled. My apologies; I was just remembering that you have lost a lot, but thankfully not your faith.
“Where would we be without Christ Our Lord?” (a lovely hymn)

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

“..the huge heart of Jesus…” what a wonderful description.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago

Maybe not Hogarth’s best painting but when I zoomed in I could see the quality and detail in it, and can see the bond of friendship between the two men that he would paint something like this. I think he captures the fear and uncertainty on Garrick’s face really well.

I’m going to give my own take on the reading. As Matthew said below, (not to confuse with the author of the passage!) about this not being about our own physical death, though that can also come at any moment, nor about some coming apocalypse, though we don’t know ‘the day nor the hour’ either.’

I feel it is about meeting Jesus now, right here where we are. Not just through prayer or reflection, though that is important, but by seeing Him in everyone we might encounter today.
This means the people in and outside our homes, those we invite in and those who invite us in. We should try to meet him in the strangers in the street, and those who both need our help but also those who offer help to us.

Of course, the most important way we can go to meet Him is in the Eucharist itself. Why wait?

Have a happy and holy Sunday everyone.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Thank you very much SFG. I’m special ministering again this morning. I’m wondering why I’m not super happy doing this job. Some sort of egoism I suppose?

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Who ever said it should make you happy? A whole ago someone entioned at the end of mass that she thought she was going to stop coming as she didn’t ‘get anything out of it anymore.’ I said I didn’t think you were supposed to ‘get something out of it,’ it isn’t a West End musical!

Sometimes things are worth doing because they are hard. I think JFK said something like that?

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Suitably admonished 😔

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” JFK

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
24 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Kennedy had a fine speechwriter, Sorensen – Danish descent. That speech appealed to the mind, the heart and the gut. So I read…

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
25 days ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

More of an etching man Hogarth I thought? You can see his Rake’s Progress in the Sir John Soane Museum in London and quite a display it is.
I don’t think there were many good artists in our country at that time which is why Hogarth is given more prominence than he’s due. He was a political cartoonist which is a fairly junior branch of the visual arts.
I am prone to making sweeping comments like that, sticking my head above the parapet, and am now prepared for a volley of shots!

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I agree with you Chazbo.😁 In a field of er…one.. Hogarth is bound to stand out!
Having said that, looking at the Rake’s Progress or Marriage a la Mode is a brilliant pastime. And he was a great philanthropist let’s not forget👍

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M(@chazbo)
25 days ago

He was – the Foundling Hospital I seem to remember.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
24 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Thomas Coram?

Ettie
Member
Ettie(@ettie)
25 days ago

Hi Janey,

Thank you for sharing. You are very wise because you see your need for the Lord’s enabling power. When we come to the end of ourselves, realising we are not able – we are then ready to cry out to Him who is able. Roms 10:11.

I developed ME/CFS 11 years ago. After 5 years I began in my heart, to long for Jesus. Life was so hard & seemed so pointless. One night the Lord permitted me to see His judgment on my life. That I was actually walking the wide road. I was shocked & very afraid & knelt down to pray, surrender all to Him – it took a while as I have 2 children & I found it really hard to let go! But later that night i received the gift of the Holy Spirit – although I didn’t realise what had happened at the time.

My life changed from that day forward as I learnt, slowly, what it means to walk in the Spirit…. Much to share, but maybe for another day!

Just to say, do not be discouraged because of your difficulties. Very, very often the Lord permits these things in order to draw us to Himself. Luke 11:13 ✨

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace(@spaceforgrace)
25 days ago
Reply to  Ettie

Indeed Ettie- I feel this too.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago
Reply to  Ettie

Wow! That is some testimony Ettie, for which I thank you 💕

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens(@jeanne)
25 days ago
Reply to  Ettie

Beautiful and encouraging. Bless you, too, Ettie, in your journey with your condition. 🙏

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago

On this Remembrance Sunday (and indeed the whole of November) I thought I would share this from our priest in our parish newsletter this week:
When we remember and pray for our dead we do not need
to pretend they were anything other than they were, and we trust that if there was a
sincere desire for God in their hearts, he will do the rest. The practice of praying for
the dead is found in scripture even before our salvation was accomplished by Christ,
expressing the hope that God’s plan for his people includes something beyond the
grave, joined to a conviction that his mercy will be greater than our own
shortcomings. We read how Judas, the leader of the Maccabean revolt against
pagan rule over Israel in the 2nd century before Christ, took up a collection in order to
offer sacrifice for a number of his men who had place their trust in pagan idols and
subsequently died in battle. It is indeed, as scripture calls it, a “holy and pious
thought” to pray for the dead, one of the spiritual acts of mercy. (2 Maccabees 12.39-42

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien(@marispiper)
25 days ago

Thank you for being so candid here Janey, which allows us to then support you in prayer.

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