SUNDAY, THIRTY SECOND WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Wis 6: 12-16; Ps 63: 2-8; 1 Thes 4: 13-18; Mt 25: 1-13
PROCRASTINATION AND REGRET
Let’s admit it! All of us have procrastinated at some time in our lives. The habitual act of postponing our tasks has affected our studies, work or even the time we spend with our families. The frenzied rush to finish the assignment has taught many of us many valuable lessons not to pile up things at the last moment! We have often regretted, “If only I had organized my tasks well or if I had planned my schedule well in advance, I could have performed better!”
Why do we procrastinate? There could be several reasons. To list a few, maybe we overlook our priorities, lack of mood and initiative, waiting for the right moment to do it, to finish menial tasks to do the best one later, or sometimes due to sickness or poor health. Sometimes, we feel that we can do the best things under pressure, so we wait for a suitable moment to begin! However, if we could pinpoint two specific reasons as to why we tend to postpone things, the reasons could be: Lack of motivation and Distractions.
The Gospel narrates the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The wise virgins were ready with their lamps and the oil that was required. Whereas, the other five virgins considered buying the oil later, probably at the last moment just before the bridegroom arrived. The bridegroom arrived at an unusual time and the virgins were caught unaware. Thus, Jesus termed them as ‘foolish virgins.’ The virgins lacked the motivation to meet the bridegroom with their lamps lit as they lacked the foresight to carry extra oil with them. They must have also been distracted and hence they could not do their duty well. Therefore, to avoid such circumstances, the first reading provides us wisdom with these words, “[Wisdom] hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. He who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for he will find her sitting at his gates.” A famous English proverb says, “The early bird catches the worm.” To seek the best results, one needs to do the required work immediately.
This criterion is not just for our daily lives but also for those who are part of the Kingdom of God. Just as in today’s psalm, we hear, “At dawn, I seek you,” we are asked to not procrastinate and regret but anticipate and rejoice! This is the essence of the Gospel today. It clearly states not to be lazy and postpone things to the last minute but to stay awake and be ready. We have abundant examples in scriptures: The young virgin from Nazareth became the Mother of God because she readily accepted the offer to be the ‘handmaid of the Lord.’ (Lk 1:38) Also, the criminal attained entry to God’s kingdom because he immediately seized the opportunity to seek forgiveness for his crime and accept Jesus as his saviour. (Lk 23: 42-43).
Procrastination has adverse effects on our physical, mental, social, and financial well-being. It could cause higher levels of stress and illness, place an increased burden on our social relationships, and could also drastically affect our relationships with our family or friends. Spiritually, it also has severe drastic effects. Postponing confessions does great harm to our souls. Delaying the reception of sacraments could rob us of the needed grace. Deferring scripture reading deprives us of inheriting the spiritual treasures of the word of God. Ultimately, being unprepared for the second coming of Jesus and idling our lives in pleasure-seeking and time-swindling could result in the loss of our heavenly abode!
“The lazy person does not plough in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.” (Prov 20:4) Procrastination is indeed a great risk we put in our lives because it will most definitely bring more loss than benefits. Therefore, let us today find inspiration from the words of Pope Francis, “We know that God wants his children to be happy in this world too, even though they are called to fulfilment in eternity, for he has created all things “for our enjoyment”, the enjoyment of everyone.” Whenever we feel like postponing things for tomorrow, let’s not wait to receive the happiness and joy God has in store for us later in life, but let’s enjoy the goodness of God starting this very moment.
Response: For you my soul is thirsting, O Lord, my God.
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