“O God, you are my God whom I seek; for you my flesh pines and my soul thirst.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
by Sister Joseph Fennimore, SNJM
We need to take time to look at where we are in our spiritual journey and consider whether we are open to the divine resources that enable us to make that journey.
Today’s Gospel reading tells the story of ten virgins who were waiting to welcome the bridegroom and escort him into the wedding hall. There were five wise virgins and five foolish virgins. They were to be ready for the bridegroom when he arrived. The five wise virgins waited with full lamps of oil and with extra. They anticipated that they might need this extra oil. The five foolish virgins had lighted lamps with oil but had not brought any extra. They did not take time to consider that more might be needed. The bridegroom was delayed, taking longer to arrive. Finally, word was passed along that he was arriving. Lamps were quickly checked to make sure their lights were burning bright and that plenty of oil was in them. The wise virgins were ready and welcomed the bridegroom with their lamps. The lamps of the foolish virgins were flickering and going out. Forced to find more oil they went in search of those who sold oil. When these virgins arrived back at the wedding hall the door was closed and locked. They knocked and called to those within but they were not recognized or heeded even when they begged to be let in.
The bridegroom in the above story is Jesus. He will be ready to welcome us into the banquet hall at the end of time. Will our lights be visible and bright? Will Jesus recognize us? In this Gospel we are being encouraged to lead lives that are being filled with good deeds and the graces of God so that our lamps are filled with oil and burning brightly as we greet the Lord. We will be welcomed with love, not only by Jesus but by all who are already at the banquet. However, those who did not prepare themselves by following in the steps of Jesus with love and good deeds, or neglected to consider their eternal destiny will find themselves outside, as the five foolish virgins did.
We are making use of wisdom when we do as the five wise virgins did. It is wisdom, a divine resource and gift, spoken of in the first reading for today, that will help us make good choices and advance in virtue. It will help us take on the likeness of Christ, by which we will be recognized when we come to the eternal banquet.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire.” Chapter 4, Vs. 46
“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day the Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42a,44