During our school days, we have a particular lecturer who does not like to stress the students in the way he sets his examinations. Before his paper takes place, He will spend time and tell the students the areas to concentrate on. We do not have to panic much because we know that in the end, he must give us areas of concentration.
But something happened in one of the final exams. We were expecting him as usual to forward us the major areas to concentrate to prepare for his exams. One week into the examination, no one heard from him.
Many began to suspect that this time might be something different and they took the initiative to prepare all he had taught. But many were busy waiting for him because we know he can never fail in giving us areas to concentrate or study.
While some were waiting for the lecturer, others were reading and preparing for the exam. It is not surprising that many waited until the day of the examination expecting his style as usual.
The truth became clearer as the time to take the papers approached. It dawned on us that this time there is nothing like areas of concentration. He took many unawares. Those who read the signs of the time earlier became the luckiest people. In life, it is good to be ready at all times.
It is good to be ready in every aspect of our lives. It is not only about the physical but the spiritual as well.
Therefore, As the end of the liturgical season approaches, the readings of today hint us to be ready at all times, vigilant, awake and prepared because we do not know the time the son of man will come.
It is a call to live in hope and not to give up. Whoever lives seeking for God will surely find Him. When our lives are circumvented around seeking to be with God at the end of our existence, we must surely be rewarded with what we are seeking.
He who seeks, Finds.
One day a little boy approached St Francis of Assisi and poured out His grievances against God. He complained to the saint that He wants to see Jesus. All the time, He will approach the altar and ask Jesus to appear but see nothing.
St Francis told Him that Jesus knows He is searching for Him. Even if He has not appeared to Him, it should not be a reason to give up on Him. What he should do is to continue to approach Jesus, and tell Him how much he loves Him. Whether he appeared or not, He should not give up.
The boy continued and yet nothing happened. Later, the boy became sick and everyone thought he would die. Even the doctor has already proposed it might be His end.
On his sickbed one day, a little boy approached him in a dream and also told him how much he loves Him. He said He is Jesus who has come to repay Him for all the love and visits made to him and that tomorrow he is going to leave the hospital healed. This happened as it was shown in the dream.
This became one of the inspirational stories in the life of the saint.
The first reading says that the only way to find wisdom is to love her and seek for her.
The first reading emphasizes the value and importance of wisdom. It encourages people to seek wisdom diligently, as it brings numerous benefits and blessings. First of all, let us analyze the characteristics of wisdom as stated in the reading.
1. Wisdom As a Precious Jewel: Here, wisdom is described as a precious jewel, stating that whoever acquires wisdom receives an immeasurable treasure. This reminds us that wisdom is not something to be taken lightly or undervalued. It is a gift that enriches our lives and the lives of those around us.
2. Seeking Wisdom: The passage emphasizes the need to actively seek wisdom. It encourages individuals to be proactive in their pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and discernment. This suggests that wisdom is not something that comes naturally or effortlessly, but something that requires effort, reflection, and study. We must seek for it to have it.
3. Wisdom’s Rewards: The passage mentions the rewards that come with wisdom, such as honour, friendship with God, and the ability to rule justly. These rewards highlight the positive impact wisdom can have on our lives and the influence it can have on society. It reminds us that wisdom not only benefits us personally but also enables us to contribute positively to the world.
Now, having enumerated these, at least we shall have an inkling of what wisdom is all about and the importance of seeking this wisdom with all our hearts.
Just as a precious jewel is highly prized, we should recognize the immense value of wisdom. It is a gift worth pursuing and cherishing, as it can guide our decisions, actions, and relationships.
Now, the question is “how can we find this wisdom?”. Who is the Wisdom? Let us browse through some biblical passages.
1.In 1 Corinthians 1:24). St Paul says “but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God”. He calls Jesus the Wisdom of God here.
2.In Colossians 2:2-3, St. Paul Says “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Here, He refers to Jesus as one in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
3. In Matthew 12:42, Jesus himself says “The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
Jesus secretly reveals here that though Solomon who is known as the wisest person is full of wisdom, He is greater than Solomon. It means that the wisdom of Solomon did not reach that of Jesus Christ, therefore, Jesus is the Wisdom par excellence.
Therefore, to seek Jesus is to seek wisdom, and to find Jesus is to find the true source of wisdom. When we live seeking Him, we shall surely find Him.
It is highly profitable and act of wisdom to understand that our life here is limited. We have to seek for the life that is eternal. And Jesus is the way to eternal life (John 10:27–28).
If we are truly serious to live eternally with God we have to be constantly prepared for it and the only way to prepare for it is seeking close connection with Jesus Christ.
We have to live like those who know that the hour may take us unawares. We have to seek for it by loving Jesus with all our hearts.
In the gospel, the wise virgins know that anything can happen at any time and they prepare for the coming of the bridegroom. If we truly want to be part of the eternal banquet we have to prepare for it by living a life that shows we have so much interest in it.
This is a life of total communion with God. We have to prepare for the unknown all the time because the unknown always happens unexpectedly.
Be Ever Ready: Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
1.In the gospel, Jesus tells us about the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. To fully understand this and connect it to our topic, we have to dig deep in the Jewish cultural and religious background. We shall take this step by step for your understanding. Lets move.
1. Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins, which focuses on the Kingdom of Heaven and the importance of being prepared for its arrival. The parable revolves around a wedding celebration in the Jewish tradition.
In Jewish weddings during ancient times, there were several key elements. First, there was the betrothal ceremony, which involved the groom and bride exchanging promises and sometimes gifts. This ceremony would be followed by a waiting period, during which the groom would prepare a home for his bride.
This was what happened between Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was after the betrothal and during the awaiting period that Joseph discovered that the Blessed Virgin Mary was pregnant and He wanted to divorce her in secret. I hope you are following?
b. Next is the ceremony itself, which usually begins from the eve or the night. The groom, accompanied by his friends, would go to the bride’s house to bring her to his home. The bridal party, including the virgins mentioned in the parable, would wait for the arrival of the groom.
So, At the eve of the wedding, the bridegroom will go to the home of the bride to fetch her because she will be awaiting his arrival with the host of the bridesmaid. Then there will be a long procession from there to the wedding hall.
c. It is expected that the long procession will be done with light in the darkness of the night. This is why there is a need for a lamp and oil for the procession. So, in this gospel, the groom delayed his coming and this is why they all fell asleep.
d. The bride, with her bridesmaids and the bridegroom will walk in procession but the bridesmaids will be the ones to lighten their way. This the reason, they came with lamps. It is their function. This explains the reason, those young virgins has to get ready to accompany the bridegroom and the bride but some of them failed in their expectations.
This explains how unpreparedness and lack of seriousness can set us back or make us fail in people’s expectation of us.
Imagine when you are invited to give a speech, people expect you to give them something that is valuable, but you went there unprepared, imagine the outcome. This was really what happened to the other virgins. They failed in their duty.
e. So, in the parable, the ten virgins represent the young girls who were waiting to participate in the wedding celebration. That’s is the bridesmaids.
In the parable Jesus divided them into two groups – five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. Those Jesus called wise virgins are those brought oil for their lamps. This symbolizes their preparedness and readiness for the groom’s arrival. The foolish virgins, on the other hand, did not bring enough oil.
When the groom finally arrived, the five wise virgins were able to join the wedding celebration, but the five foolish virgins had to go and buy more oil. By the time they returned, the door was closed, and they were not able to enter the wedding banquet.
This explains the need to be wise in everything that we do. We have to think beyond what is happening presently, also we do not assume nor conclude how anything can happen. Otherwise like in my introduction story, life can take us unawares. This applies in everything that we do in life. Let us always plan , work and think ahead of time.
We need the Oil.
This parable prefigures the second coming of Jesus Christ which will take us unawares.
As we are journeying to the end of the liturgical year, the church is reminding us that we have also to constantly prepare for our end and the end of the world. Everything will take us unawares for no one will say the hour when and how it will happen.
One thing that made the wise virgins worthy is that they are truly prepared. They know that this event will take a long time and they take their oil for the journey.
Did you know that they also slept but what saved them was the oil.
Without oil, the lamp will not have any light. We need oil. The oil helps the light to keep it burning. The oil provides the energy. This spiritual energy kept the apostles zealous despite the persecutions. We need the spiritual energy that comes from the Holy Spirit.
We need the anointing power of the Holy Spirit, Therefore, we need to keep our good work burning without giving up despite however the hour maybe. This is actually, what saint Paul is saying in the second reading.
Sometimes we think we have a lot of time. Many believe death is never their portion. Sometimes we do not worry about how the end of our lives would be. Then we begin to live the way we want until the hour takes us unawares. We have to be ready at all times.
Lamps But No Oil
When you look at the foolish ones, It is not that they do not have extra oil. Many people talk of extra oil but the answer is no. Read critically, the gospel says categorically that the foolish ones do not have any oil. They are part of the wedding procession but eventually, they did not make it to the banquet.
Jesus says in the gospel “Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps”.
They only took their lamps but forgot the oil. Therefore, what does this mean? Being part of the wedding attendant is not a guarantee into the banquet hall.
Therefore, it is not enough just to be a member of the church. We need to go more closer to God and relate intimately with the Holy Spirit.
That we go to church and belong to thousands of organizations is not a guarantee that we are already citizens of heaven. That you are a singer in one church, chairman and president of fathers and mothers organization is not an automatic ticket to heaven. We need to put our oil. This calls for an intimate life with God. We need to seek God with all our heart, soul, mind and body.
4. The foolishness of the virgins is not that they do not have the lamp but they did not prepare for the long procession.
They think that the little they have is enough they presumed everything. They presume the time the bridegroom will come and also that their lamp is enough.
Many times we live presuming that God understands our weaknesses. That God will have mercy or that He will know how we have served Him and how we have been a church member for many years. Sometimes we will say ‘well He knows I am not strong’.
Many assume that the second coming of Jesus may not take place again since He has delayed His coming. When we live a life of presumption, life will surely take us unawares.
The unexpected will always happen to us. In my beginning story, many presumed and got disappointed at last. To avoid disappointment, never presume anybody.
The Way to Be Ready
Sometimes, it is not that many people are not trying but when problems and challenges come, we often think God never existed. We often think that all hope is lost and maybe God has abandoned us. Some then lose hope in God or live the way they want.
So, the way to get prepared always is to live in hope. We have to live in hope that our efforts in this world are not a waste.
2.We have to live in hope that there is a reward awaiting us despite our challenges. This is the reason Saint Paul encourages us in the second reading to make sure that we do not grieve about those who have died, like people who have no hope.
Since Jesus died and rose again, it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus. God will bring them with Him. Therefore, Saint Paul encourages us not to give up on God. He says in the second reading “we shall stay with the Lord for ever”
1.Everything that has a beginning point must have an endpoint. It is only a foolish person that thinks life stops only at the beginning. We are ultimately born to die. Once we are living, the end will surely come. This end will surely take everyone unawares. If we like, let us build a skyscraper thinking we will inhabit the whole earth. No one will live in this world forever and ever. Let us always be ready.
1b. Jesus calls someone a fool because he was thinking only on how he will enjoy life without thinking about His soul (Luke 12:16-21). He also calls the other virgins foolish because they presumed a lot. They did not prepare for the unforeseen.
While we live, let us not forget to prepare for the unforeseen. This shows us how wise we are, knowing fully that anything can happen at any time. Let us Be ready every minute and every hour. Tomorrow is always pregnant.
2. The readings of today which we later see clearly in the second reading is that we must live like those who have hope. Despite the problems of the times, we have to continue keeping the faith, burning our good work. For surely there is a reward for all who can endure to the end. To be vigilant is the key.
3. Like the foolish virgins who came back crying and knocking. Jesus reminds us that the end may be too late. The kingdom of Heaven is not when we shout Lord! Lord! (Matthew 7:21-23).
Always be ready. It is not how much we speak in tongues, how much we see a vision and how long we prophesy. It is not how many years we have served in the church but what we can do with what God has given to us. On the last day, it is our good work that will stand for us.
3b. Be ready at all times so that life will not take you unawares so that when anything happens, your life is secure. Be ready at times even now that many are losing hope in God, thinking that God is nothing but the imagination of the mind but towards the end of their lives they begin to run around for last-minute reconciliation with God.
We have to be ready because we do not know what the next hour will look like. Only God knows. We have to seek Him now that He is near and not when it is too late. Whenever we seek Him with all our hearts, we shall surely find Him.
3c. God’s interest is on what you are doing presently with who you are, what you are and where you are. It is How many souls we have saved and touched. It is the Oil that makes the difference.
4. Always know that time is uncertain. Always understand that things happen to us even when we do not expect. The parable also reminds us that we do not know when certain events will occur.
The bridegroom’s delay showed that time is uncertain, and we must always be ready for any unexpected changes or opportunities that may come our way.
5. We have to understand that preparation is essential in everything that we do. The parable emphasizes the importance of being prepared for unexpected events.
The wise virgins were ready with enough oil for their lamps, while the foolish ones were caught unprepared. This teaches us the importance of being proactive and prepared in all areas of our lives., be it in academics, business, professions and vocations. Always prepare ahead.
6. This also warns us of tackling problems only when it is too late. This is the reason many have died of many sicknesses, many refused to go for diagnosis and treatment on time until their condition deteriorates and then it becomes late.
Quit rushing things, it will ruin you. This is the reason many fail exams because they remember to read at the rush hour.
This is the reason many marriages have crumbled. Either of the spouses were awaiting a time to apologise for something he or she did. Let us learn to get things done on time and not at the rush hour.
7. Finally, one may also add here, that despite however your present condition is, continue to live in hope. Even when life seems uneasy and prayers look unanswered, always live in expectation of God’s favour.
It may look as if He delays his response. But He always acts in a way that surprises everyone. He may remember you when you least expect. Therefore, Never lose hope in God. Always be ready and in expectation of the goodness of the Lord. God bless you and happy Sunday.
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