“But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.” And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.”  Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:6-13)  In Matthew 25 Jesus tells three parables about his absence and sudden return.  They do not end well for everyone.  It is important to remember, however, that each one begins in an inclusive manner.  All ten bridesmaids have been invited to the party.  It is the Lord’s good intention to include everyone.  But such a wonderful invitation demands a particular response.  It requires a particular type of preparation on our part.  Two thoughts: first, the Lord responds to those who are not prepared for his arrival: “I do not know you.” He does not say, “I did not call you” or “I do not love you.”  No, it seems to me is that the implication is that he does not know those who have not taken the time to know him.  Second, we are called to watch.  But for what exactly are we watching?  It is for the beginning of the party!  Know your Lord.  Know the gracious one who is returning.  Know that he loves you and has called you to himself.  And let us live in such a way that we are prepared for his return; loving and inviting each one that we meet.  Have a great week.