Victory Goes To Those Who Are Prepared! 

In the Gospel, parable of the ten virgins, the foolish virgins represent the “Chosen People of God” who were waiting for the Messiah but were shut out from the messianic banquet because they were unprepared. Like the five wise virgins, we should attend to duties of the present moment, preparing now, rather than waiting until it is too late. Victory goes to those who are prepared! 

Wise VirginsWhat shall we do while we wait for the Lord?  The answer is:  "Make sure you have enough oil for your lamps!" What does it mean? 1. It stands for our personal relationship with God. It is not something that one can attain overnight or borrow from someone else as the foolish virgins attempted to do.  This “state of grace” is something we must receive from God personally and directly. 2. In Scripture, oil is often a symbol for the Holy Spirit.  It is when we submit our work, our intentions, our purpose to the Holy Spirit that he fills our deeds with power and effectiveness. 3. Oil stands for character and Christian values which we cannot borrow – or buy. 

That metaphor of “oil” refers to the way we do or do not live the virtuous life that God freely empowers us to live. You cannot “borrow” these virtues at the last moment; you must “live” them. It’s a reminder that we can never use the excuse - “no one told me.”  4.  Oil also stands for “spiritual capital” (our merits) – all that we build up by good works.  

We have to learn three lessons from this parable: 1) an eager, expectant waiting for the Lord’s coming is required; 2) we can’t borrow what we’re going to need to meet the Lord when we comes; and 3) a loving admonition from the Lord not to procrastinate on our preparations until it’s too late. This Mass is meant to help us with each of the three.  

What is the “oil” that we lack?  Oil in the Scripture is often a symbol for the Holy Spirit.  Do I submit my works to the Holy Spirit?  Do I lack the oil of kindness and compassion?  Do I lack the oil of patience and sympathy?  Am I short of the oil of religious education and instruction in the faith? We need to have the oil of being in the state of grace.  If not, I am in the empty - a state of mortal sin.

St. Ignatius of Loyola’s famous prayer:  “Lord, teach me to know you more, love you more and serve you more faithfully in my life.” The “more” indicates that our earthly life is always in process, never a finished product; like love and friendship it grows in our lives. All our spiritual exercises keep this relationship always alive, always new. The most important reality of all our relationship is the relationship with God. Am I prepared to meet the Lord? What is the intensity of my relationship with Christ Jesus?


In the Service of the Lord,
   Father Thainese Alphonse



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St. Bernadette Catholic Church