“Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps” (Matthew 25:2-4).
Whenever the scriptures talk about foolishness, it always does so within the context of wisdom. We become wise only when we realize we have been foolish. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is not simply entertaining us, he wants us to examine ourselves and to find out where we really belong.
There were ten maidens, five were foolish and five were wise. The only thing that differentiated the foolish from the wise was the fact that they went along with some extra oil; they didn’t depend only on the oil in their lamps.
Perhaps the foolish ones were more concerned about how they looked or the colour of their dress, there must have been so many things they considered important, but they forgot the one thing necessary; a bottle of oil in case the oil in their lamps go out.
The foolish ones missed out of the wedding (the purpose of their gathering) not because of their looks, but because they were out trying to get some oil when the bridegroom eventually arrived. This story tells us how many foolish persons would miss out of their real purpose in life because they didn’t pay attention to that one thing necessary.
Dear friends, have you thought about that one thing? If everything else fails, what is that “one thing” you think would never fail you? Think of it this way, if you came home to meet your house in flames, what is that one thing you would try to save? Or better still, if you were told that you have just a few hours left to live, what is that one thing you would ask for?
That one thing which we often take for granted, that extra oil is our relationship with God. As we heard in the parable Jesus gave us on Sunday of this week, on the last day, many would come knocking at the door, claiming to know the master having eaten and drank in his company, but He would say: “Depart from me, I do not know you… you workers of iniquity.”
Think about this: If God were to deny knowing me on the last day, what and who else would I run to? Now we can see that nothing else in this life is important as our friendship with God.
St. Paul in today’s first reading says: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from unchastity… For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man, but God” (1 Thessalonians 4:2-8).
If we live on earth as though God does not exist, how do we hope to spend eternity with this same God we have rejected?
Don’t be an average Christian, go the extra mile. Be an authentic Christian. Nothing is as important as living a truly holy life free from iniquity whether in public or in secret. This is the extra oil that only a few wise persons would carry with them.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my wisdom, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu.