“Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
This verse is the conclusion of the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, a story told by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
In the parable, Jesus tells of 10 bridesmaids — five foolish and five wise. The foolish bridesmaids did not bring oil for their lamps to meet the bridegroom, who wound up being delayed.
When the bridesmaids fell asleep waiting, their lamps were going out — and the wise bridesmaids who were prepared did not share their oil.
ARKANSAS PASTOR SAYS CHRIST IS A ‘BEACON OF LIGHT’ FOR EVERYONE IN THIS ‘STRATEGIC TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY’
The bridegroom arrived after the foolish bridesmaids left to purchase additional oil. They were locked out of the wedding feast.
This story is connected to the Book of Revelation, said Fr. John Burns, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He serves as the vocation promoter and promoter of women’s religious and consecrated life for the archdiocese.
“The Book of Revelation tells us that everything, the entire story of creation, ends in a wedding feast. And we, the Church, are the bride,” Burns said to Fox News Digital.
And while this is “seemingly abstract,” he said, it is “revealed to us by God as our finality, and, as it were, our destination.”
‘ANCHOR YOUR TRUST IN THE LORD’ FOR A ‘JOYOUS LIFE,’ SAYS NEW JERSEY-BASED FAITH LEADER
Burns noted that “in aviation, there’s something called the 1-in-60 rule: If a pilot is one degree off on the compass and flies for 60 miles, he ends up a full mile off course. Knowing the destination, and keeping it in sight, matters.”
This, he said, also applies to spiritual life, even if people sometimes “hesitate to rely on scripture as a substantial guide because the Bible is filled with events that happened in the historical past.”
The Book of Revelation, however, the final book of the Bible, is about the future — meaning that humanity lives within scripture, said Burns.
“When we recall the promises of the Old Testament, they can feel so reassuring: rest, security, prosperity,” he said.
‘ANGELS, DEMONS, SPIRITS AND SOULS DO EXIST,’ SAYS EXORCIST PRIEST WHO WARNS AGAINST OUIJA BOARD USE
“We also hear that Christ brings the fulfillment of the promises. Yet our world seems to indicate otherwise.”
The promises of the Old Covenant, said Burns, “point further forward than we realize.”
“What if Christ only began the fulfillment, and we as a Church are in the middle of a final phase as creation groans toward its ultimate destiny?” he said.
He also said, “What if this entire era of history is really about preparation?”
The prophets promised that, in the final age, “God would draw us back into a covenantal love-bond that would last forever,” said Burns.
This promise is illustrated in the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, as Jesus was exhorting humanity “to prepare for the coming of a bridegroom, to get ready for a future wedding,” said Burns.
Failing to keep this future wedding in sight, “we stop preparing and start to fidget and fight,” said Burns.
“We reduce the Church to an organization inscribed within this world. We start to treat the Church like a struggling institution that just needs new programs, better organizational habits and more effective fundraising.”
And while these things matter, “none of it is enough,” Burns revealed. “Part of what makes the Church sick today is that we’ve settled for mechanics where we actually need metaphysics.”
“We’ve settled for mechanics where we actually need metaphysics.”
Forgetting the “nuptial horizon,” said Burns, is to forget the Church’s identity as a bride.
“Then, we’re just trying to win people into an organization instead of invite them into love,” he said.
“In technical terms, eschatology — the study of final things — must inform ecclesiology because ecclesiology informs evangelization.”
Scripture, said Burns, is clear: Jesus, the bridegroom, is in love with us, the “promised bride.”
“The wedding isn’t here yet, but it’s nearing,” he said. “And we are drowsily unprepared.”
For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.