A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
1 “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
3 The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them,
4 but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
5 Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
10 While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.
11 Afterwards, the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
12 But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Reflection: Are you wise or foolish?
Good News: Those who are ready will go into the wedding feast with the bridegroom.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins tells us primarily the message of readiness to meet our creator. Nobody knows the time or day. That is why, the present moment is very critical. It is all we have. In the words of one song, yesterday is gone and tomorrow will never be ours. Therefore, we must spend every moment of our life to prepare.
What should we prepare? Let us make an inventory. Are we attired with the garment of purity? Do we have the oil of faith, the lamp of hope and the vessel of love? If our garment is stained with sin, there is still time to wash it with repentance and forgiveness. If our oil is at its lowest amount, let us increase it with prayer. If our lamp is not functioning, fix it with the inspiring Word of God. If our vessel is empty, allow the Holy Spirit to fill it with its power.
We know that at any time our Creator will call us into His Kingdom. We just don’t know the exact time. For the wise, there is no problem. Their entire life on earth is but a preparation for that moment of encounter with the Lord. But the fool continues to ignore this warning. It is to him or her that the Lord will say “I do not know you”.
Choose to be wise. Be ready at any time.
For further meditation and reflection, here are some pointers.
1. The wedding: union of God and His people
• Read: Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:7; Joel 1:8
• Life with God is like a wedding feast. There is joy and merriment.
2. The time is coming when each one of us will meet our creator. But we do not know when.
• Read Matthew 24: 36 – “Not even the angels in heaven nor the Son of man knows the hour.”
• The exact time may be delayed and we grow weary. We become drowsy. Things don’t happen as we had hoped. God does not work according to our schedule.
3. Our preparation is individual. We can’t let others do the preparation for us.
• You alone will meet your creator.
• To prepare is to wear the white robe of purity and faithfulness. Use the mnemonic L-O-V-E-P for easy remembrance.
L – Lamp (Light)
O – Oil (energy)
V – Vessel (heart)
E – Eveready, Eternal
P – Patiently Waiting
4. The lamp symbolizes Jesus who is the light in our path. He is no longer physically present but His word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). When we are in darkness and misery, it is the Word of God that make us see through and that give us hope. Even in the darkest of night, there can be cries of joy when Jesus comes to us.
• The night cannot last forever. Our boredom or suffering will end.
5. There is a hidden “vessel” in each one. It is not obvious to others.
• What is inside is more important than what is outside. The Lamp is useless without oil.
6. Stay Awake. Be ready.
• Mathew 24:46 – Blessed is he whom the Master finds doing when He comes.
• Not all those who say Lord, Lord will be saved.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
7. Our life on earth is temporary. We are on a journey. Therefore let us set our mind on our most important goal: Eternal Life
* Romans 8:5-6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, and those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace.”
• To be preoccupied means to constantly think of spiritual things. Just like when you are in love, your mind is pre-occupied with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our mind, with all our heart, and with all our soul. (Matthew 22:37)