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
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come to you again
in prayer. Even though I cannot see you, I
know through faith that you are present in my
life. I hope in your promise to be with me.
I love you, and I know you love me.
Accept this prayer as a token of my love.
Lord, make me long for and strive to
enter the kingdom of heaven.
1. A Severe Oil Shortage: 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 anticipate when and how
the Lord would come to them, and they were
not prepared. So often we, too, get caught up
in a thousand affairs and worries, and we can miss
what is essential. We miss the presence of Christ
in the people around us, in the circumstances in
which we are living. Sometimes, Christ comes to us through
some sacrifice or suffering; but we do not recognize
him in it, and we reject it. We need to
strengthen our faith and see how the Lord may
appear in our lives.
2. The Door Closes: Over and over
in the New Testament, Jesus makes clear that there
is a real possibility some people, due to their
own choices, may not be saved. The most terrible thing
that could happen to any person would be to
hear those words from the Lord who created us
and died to save us: “I do not know you.”
The Lord takes our freedom to choose very seriously.
He never forces our will. He never imposes himself on
us. Rather he invites us to make a free
response of love and obedience to him and the
way of life he taught us. We must choose to
remain steadfast in the way of the Christian life.
God cannot save us without our cooperation.
3. Stay Awake: Saint
Augustine said, “Beware of the grace of God that passes
and does not return.” We need to perceive 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.
Conversation with Christ:
Jesus, thank you for teaching us so clearly about
the seriousness of our choices. How terrible it would
be to opt for death instead of eternal life with
you! I want to choose you and your ways,
but I am weak. Make me watch and wait always,
ready to see you in all things and do
Resolution: I will actively look for
signs of Christ in others today.