Gospel Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
'Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.'
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.'
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.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'
But he said in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.'
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour."
+Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blessed and in our souls, take up Thy rest. Amen
"The wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps." What does it mean to be 'wise'? In the context of this Gospel perhaps wisdom is linked to the willingness of the person to be prepared to wait and endure whatever is needed in order to not miss "His" coming- the Bridegroom. It says they "all became drowsy and fell asleep" and yet in this passage there is a difference in the 10 virgins. What made the five of them wise?
We were visiting a older Capuchin priest the other day, who is dying. Cancer is racking his body. When we walked into his room, one of the young Missionary Interns told me later, that she had expected Father to be in bed, looking drained, but she was so surprised to find him sitting in a chair with the most beautiful smile on his face, emanating great peace, greeting us and rising to do so, holding onto his walker. He was alert, astute and articulate, he greeted us with a blessing and a gentle embrace. We asked him how he was feeling. He said so simply; "I am dying, I feel stabs in my stomach, like a knife but all is gift. I am peaceful-He is coming soon, I hope, I am waiting for him, we have been talking a lot these days, Jesus and me.
Would you say this elderly priest is "awake?" I would. What is the 'oil' in this beautiful priest's lamp but faith? Are we willing to bear the 'apparent' absence of Jesus with faith and patience and love, patiently enduring until He returns? If patience is the willingness to suffer, am I willing to "suffer" his absence until I am blessed with the awareness of his presence?
What do you do, when you feel impatient for Jesus to come and act in a particular situation in your life? Do you pray and wait patiently for His coming?
"Love, to be true, must hurt, it must cost, it must empty us of self" (St. Mother Teresa)
+Prayer: Jesus, I love you, teach me the silence of heart, to wait upon you, I love you Jesus. Amen