Reflections: The Last Sunday of the Church Year

Today’s Reading: Matthew 25:1-13,  Introit: Ps. 39:4–5, 7– 8; antiphon: Is. 35:10

Daily Lectionary: Daniel 1:1-21; Matthew 28:1-20

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How are you supposed to be prepared for the ending when you have no idea when the ending is coming? The ten virgins in our reading couldn’t even stay awake until midnight when they knew the bridegroom was on his way. Half of them didn’t even bring enough oil for their lamps. The parable comes to an end without letting us know what happened. Did the 5 foolish virgins gain entry to the celebration or not?  The Church has been waiting for Jesus to return for almost two thousand years, that is a lot of lamp oil.  Is that all the Christian life is, living in a constant state of wakeful watching? If your concentration slips for just a second, will you wake to find yourself on the wrong side of the door to the party? How do you make sure you have enough oil when you don’t know how long it will have to last?

To make a long story short the oil for your lamp is a renewable resource and God is the one who keeps your supply topped off.  The resurrection of Jesus marked the inauguration of a new age that has not yet come to fulfillment. You are Christians for the long haul. This is a faith that can take you from cradle to grave. It is a faith for a lifetime. At the same time, it is faith that must be taken care of, faith that must be fed and nurtured. It is a faith that comes from hearing the word and receiving the sacraments. In other words, it is faith that needs oil so that its light does not sputter and die. Oil comes from the one baptism for the remission of sins, oil comes from the absolution, oil comes from the communion of the saints. Your lamp remains lit because God Himself tends the flame. 

The church is not a one and done kind of place. You are not left alone waiting. This is why we gather every week around the word of God and receive the gifts of God. We may not know when Jesus is coming back but because he has made us into his people and continues to be with us even unto the very end of the age, we will be ready when he comes back. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that, from the bonds of our sins which by reason of our frailty we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen. 

-Pastor Grant Knepper is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.