BY: Fr. Karabari Paul




‘The Kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten maidens who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.’

A Jewish wedding had three stages. The first was engagement: A formal agreement made by the fathers. The second was betrothal: The ceremony were mutual promises were made. The third was Marriage: Approximately one year later when the bridegroom came at an unexpected time for his bride.

There were usually ten lamps in a bridal procession. This is the background to the Gospel of today (Matthew 25:1-13). Here, Jesus compared the Kingdom of heaven to ten maidens who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were wise and five were foolish; wise and foolish not in the sense of being good and bad but being prudent and imprudent, thoughtful and thoughtless. It is possible to lose heaven for being foolish. The virgins are a type of kingdom subjects who desire to be there with the bridegroom. It is surprising that people with such purity state of life could also be associated foolishness. It means that one virtue may not be enough just as lamp without oil separated the wise from the foolish.

Wisdom and Folly are put side by side here, and Proverbs 21:20 resonates. There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spends it up.

While the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. Both the wise and foolish maidens slept but the wise ones were prepared. One mark that is often indicative of foolishness is the inability to act when it is appropriate to do so. The foolish maidens appeared to be ready because they had their lamps in hands the same way we all appear to be Christians in the Church. But they really were not ready because they took no oil with them just the way we are not Christians if we have no God’s spirit in us.

All the maidens are expected to be at the feast and until the moment comes there is no clear difference between them. A true test separates the ready from the unready. The foolish ones were unprepared because they lacked oil for their lamps. Oil is the symbol of the Holy Spirit and grace (Zechariah 4:1-7). Oil lubricates, heals, lights, warms, invigorates, adorns, and polishes. And the Holy Spirit does all these. Without the Holy Spirit, no one is ready for the return of Jesus. Oil could also be the necessary virtues needed for salvation and the acceptance of God since the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.

Many have a lamp of faith profession in their hands, but their heart lacks the dwelling of the Spirit of God. Our light must shine before men in good works. The lost will not enter heaven based on the salvation others have received.Each person is accountable for his own choices. Once our Lord returns, there is neither the time nor the opportunity for the five foolish maidens to change their course of unbelief. There is a ‘point of no return.’ There are things we can’t change at the last minute. It is impossible to prepare for an exam right before the examiner. Again, certain things necessary for salvation cannot be borrowed. Good life is one of them.

Even the foolish virgins were wise until the bridegroom delayed. Just in time, just over the borderline followership will not be enough. If you skimp around the basics to get by, you will be caught behind. God grant me grace not to do just what is okay, but to go with you all the way. May delay in your coming not reveal my foolishness.The key question here is which of these describes me? Wise or foolish? Am I planning for the future, or are my eyes on now? Am I really ready for delays, or is my gospel based on “I want it now syndrome.”

For Christ not to be formed in us in the day He arrives, is an indication that we have been foolish with our lives. God help us to be wise, let us be found with Oil in full measure. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world and land, bless and protect us all through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.

Fr. Karabari Paul

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