By George G. Perez, CJM
In today’s context, this parable recalls an essential thing for us. Something that has brought us to the forefront of our ability to trust and prepare appropriately. When much turmoil has been experienced from the pandemic to economic loss, we tend to have a hoarding mentality of “need and have,” and this is where this parable helps us change our perspective. We are now getting closer to the end of the liturgical calendar in the next few weeks and preparing for Advent. The Church points us in our liturgical readings to the end of time and judgment. In these coming Sundays, we are invited to take a serious look into our relationship with others but especially with God. Are we the prudent ones?
I think that what Mathew wants us to understand is that when Jesus tells this parable of the ten virgins. It refers to the end of days as the bride’s friends who await the bridegroom must be prepared in a way that is appropriate to Christ’s arrival at the end of days because the bridegroom is Christ himself returning to His Church. The ten virgins represent all the faithful, and it clearly states that being prudent and keeping vigil when receiving the bridegroom would lead us into the wedding feast. But it also points to those that were impudent and the response that Christ himself will give us if we are not ready to receive him. ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ (Matthew 25:12) (Luke 13:27)
Christ wants us to see that we must be prudent stewards of ourselves by keeping vigil, and it can only be done for ourselves, not for others. We must be responsible for ourselves at crucial times and events in our lives and be vigilant of our spiritual life. When the time comes for us to render an account of our lives at the judgment, there will not be any exchange of spiritual goods as we will be judged according to our own actions. Only those that were prudent with their spiritual lives will be admitted to the wedding feast of the lamb.
Yet, there lies the difference between the two groups of virgins. The prudent ones find that the oil they carried is sufficient and are keep vigil for the coming of Christ; this will not be a surprise to them. In contrast to the others, that are distracted and unprepared, catching them off guard. Not having the proper reserves stored up will not be a good reason for them to enter. We are to live in a way that helps us be prudent and vigilant today and moves us to see what will come in the future. How we live today in God’s eyes points us to a future reality, which the parable suggests us to understand.
The bridegroom’s coming does not have a determined time nor hour, and we cannot know when this time will arrive. What we can do is stay calm and vigilant with our relationship with Jesus as we come to see the father through the son that was sent “I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” (John 7:29)
We live in a broken world that needs to be redeemed, and it has been “by the blood of the lamb” (Revelation 12:11). Still, we have been distracted so much that with the turmoil that we are currently living, our hearts and lives are in constant search for “need and have,” this has led us to forgotten to bring enough oil while waiting for his return. One scripture verse that I always read is the following: “So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour.” (1Peter 5:8)