After yesterday’s Breakfast with the word, someone asked me ” Fr. won’t it be nice if we are aware of the time, the day and the hour the son of man would come so that we can prepare very well for that day or is it better that we do not know the day?”. Today’s gospel reading answers such questions. God wants us to be ready at all times.
To be ready means to prepare and equip for a forthcoming activity. Every man on earth has to know that as he comes, so he will go. So, we must be ready.
The Question for Every Man.
Do we truly believe that we are just like wayfarers on earth? Or do we think we are going to live in the world forever and ever?
Do we believe that life here is just temporary? Or do we think others will die, but death is never our portion?
Do we believe that every soul has an eternal destination, or do we think our destination ends in this world?
Do we still accept that like others have gone to meet their creator, we will join them one day? Or do we think our case is different?
Do you believe that in the end, what faces us is a judgment on the things we did either good or bad or do we believe that there is nothing like such?
If we truly understand that our home is not of this world, if we truly understand that judgment awaits everyone at an unexpected time, we will always remember our soul and be wary of how we live our lives.
When we live as if nothing is happening and that everything ends in this world, then we become carefree and hardly think of our end. This is what separated the wise virgins and the foolish ones.
The parable is a follow up to the reading of yesterday. While Jesus is waiting for his agony in Jerusalem, He tells this parable as a way of strengthening His apostles and preparing them for the work ahead.
He tells them the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, to teach them the need to equip themselves before His second coming.
The message here is for them to remain firm and stay prepared until the final day. He wants them to be ready at all times.
2.According to some historians, it was part of the tradition during the time of Jesus that the night before the wedding proper, the bridegroom and his friends would leave his house and go to the home of the bride to take her in the company of her bridesmaids.
Then, the groom, the bride, and the bridesmaids will now follow the groom to his home that same night in a procession. This is the reason we see the ten virgins who are representing the bridesmaids here.
3.In this procession, each person would carry his/her light which can either be an oil lamp or a wooden stick with an oil-soaked rag on one end. This explains the reason for the lamp in this parable.
Jesus uses this wedding background as His key tool to unravel the unexpected that will happen on his second coming. Jesus is the “bridegroom” of the Church; the Church is the “bride” of Christ.
4.Just like the ten virgins took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom both wise and foolish, is how everyone has been called to meet the bridegroom; Our Lord Jesus Christ.
In this parable, both the wise and the foolish ones have not met the bridegroom before, they were only told that the bridegroom is coming. Just like we have not seen Jesus face to face but we were told that He is coming soon. The wisdom here is to believe these words and keep them, hence getting ready all the time.
The Foolish and the Wise.
When we read the gospel. We will discover that what truly separated the wise from the foolish is the oil.
1.The foolish virgins were part of those awaiting the coming of the bridegroom just like the wise virgins.
The foolish virgins also have their lamps just like the wise ones, but the gospel stated categorically that the foolish virgins have no oil at all. They only took their lamps with no oil. So, the end takes them by surprise.
Therefore, when we do not prepare and equip ourselves with the necessary requirements, the end will take us by surprise. We have to be ready at all times.
2.Both groups heard that the bridegroom will come. The wise got ready and prepared and took oil for their lamps. It was that oil that sustained them and not the lamps.
This implies that it is not just having the lamp, we need the oil. It is not just answering a Christian, attending church every day, we need a sincere relationship with God and the Holy Spirit. We need to be constant in our good deeds and sincere faith in God. We have to be ready at all times.
3.Just like the foolish virgins were part of the wedding train but they never cared the time the wedding could be, is how we also call ourselves Christians but never cared about what truly will save us at the end of our lives.
We do not care about the end and the salvation of our souls. What we care about is how to stay in the world forever, how to remain in a political position and acquire the whole earth.
What we care about is how to ride the latest car, live in the best mansions and enjoy the whole world. When we focus only on the now without focusing on our eternal destiny, life will take us unawares.
Without Jesus .
We are Christians but many times we act like the other virgins, who were denied entry.
This is when we become carefree, faithless, and careless about our salvation. We claim to be true believers but hardly keep the word of God.
Just like the foolish virgins were just members of the wedding train, many Christians are merely churchgoers without having any more little things added to it. And just like the foolish virgins were taken unawares and were caught off guard is also how the end may be for us. We have to be ready at all times.
Without the presence of Jesus and His mother at the wedding at Cana in John 2, the salvation of the bride and groom when the wine ran out would have been another story just like the foolish ones were denied access to salvation because of lack of oil. But with the presence of Jesus, they were saved.
We need Jesus, we need more relationships with Him. In essence, we need to be with Him at the end of time. We have to be ready at all times.
Before It is too Late .
When the foolish virgins knew that the bridegroom had arrived already, they now rushed out to buy their oil. By then it was too late.
This is how it will be at the end for us that do not take the word of God seriously and live the way we want.
This is how it will be for us when we think that the world is our final destination.
When the end comes, we begin to look for last-minute salvation. The time to get prepared is now. Jesus is simply using this parable to tell us that we have to be ready at all times.
May God bless you, dearest, have mercy on us, and give us the grace of everlasting life. May our earthly race, never go in vain, Amen.