Our liturgical Year A is quickly drawing to a close. The Gospel this weekend is the story of the wise and foolish virgins. And our readings today remind us of our need to be awake. Vigilance is the underlying message in the parable of the ten virgins. This is not about good and evil. It is about being ready. Being alert. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins may be interpreted on many levels. The parables relate the different kinds of accountability required of Christians as we prepare for our encounter with Christ. It points us towards the end things, our final destination – to be with God when Christ comes again.
The Gospel invites us to have oil for our lamps, that is, to be always ready for the coming of the Lord. He appears in moments and ways we do not expect and at all times throughout our day. The foolish virgins failed to prepare for when and how the Lord would come to them, and so they were not ready. Often too we get caught up in incidentals and unimportant worries, and we can miss what is essential. Perhaps we miss the presence of Christ in the people around us, in the circumstances in which we are living, or fail to recognize Him in it, and miss the grace of the moment. We need to strengthen our faith and see how the Lord is active and present in our lives. Saint Augustine said, “Beware of the grace of God that passes and does not return.” We need to experience God’s presence in the little things of each day and never let the opportunity to love and serve Him pass us by. Our faith must be ready and watching for Him. If we take Him for granted, or presume that we are already saved, we can miss our chance to be with Him.
The lamp is Christian faith, while the oil represents our good works that we do in our life. This is why the wise virgins could not share their oil. I cannot borrow your relationship with God. The lamps are our hearts, while the oil for our lamps is the good values and good deeds that Jesus Christ teaches us to do. The ten virgins are all of us who are active in this world. The wise virgins are those of us who have heard, understood and practiced the teachings of Christ while the foolish virgins are those who may have become distracted from the teachings of Christ or understood but did not practice them.
What can help us in being vigilant and prepares for our own life now, is taking time to pray; taking time to talk with God. We need not make an appointment, God is always right here and right now.Blessings,
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.