The Antiphon for the Canticle of Zechariah in today’s Morning Prayer is:
“There is no need to be afraid; in five days our Lord will come to us.”
When I first read that prayer, my initial reaction was “five days? That’s it? I’m not ready; there’s still so much to do!” I was thinking, of course, of all the Christmas preparations – last minute shopping, the house to clean, the tree that still needs to be decorated, food preparation. How quickly Christmas is approaching! Where did the time go?
I wonder if the five foolish bridesmaids in the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25) would have had the same reaction when they realized that the bridegroom was fast approaching. It seems that they panicked. They tried to take some oil from the five wise bridesmaids but to no avail. The foolish bridesmaids didn’t take advantage of the time they had to prepare and so they were left out of the wedding feast.
How about me? Unlike the bridesmaids, I know exactly when the bridegroom is arriving and so I have no excuse for unpreparedness. Is my soul ready for Jesus’ arrival? I have five days to ensure that my answer is a resounding “yes!” I have five days to make sure my lamp is lit. Five days of prayer, silence and contemplation. Five days to let the grace of the Sacrament of Confession permeate my being. Five more days to stay awake, be ready and exclaim, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Thank You, Lord, for giving me fair warning; now it’s up to me to act wisely.