The ten young women in Sunday's Gospel represent all the members of the Church. They are us. But there are those who are ready for the Bridegroom and those who are not.
The wise virgins are described as having brought extra oil whereas the foolish did not. They were prepared for a long wait whereas the foolish were not. It takes preparation, endurance, and vigilance to be a disciple. Do you have what it takes to keep up this Christian lifestyle until you meet the Lord face-to-face? The foolish do not plan for the long haul; they do not expect to have to wait and endure. The wise come prepared.
Do you have enough “oil” in your lamps? The oil represents charity and joy in the Holy Spirit. In this sense, the foolish are those who do not carry enough of the Spirit to endure until the coming of the Bridegroom. They run out of charity and joy. This could mean trying to live the Christian life by their own willpower and only looking out for themselves. But that can’t last. Only those wise disciples endure who have learned to rely on the oil of the Holy Spirit to keep their lamps of faith burning brightly. They cooperate with the grace of God through prayer and the Sacraments of the Church and live a life in the Spirit full of charity and joy.
The journey to the Kingdom, to the place of the wedding feast, is an event of loving relationship between the Holy Spirit and us. That’s what our parish offers. We offer a continuous learning of how to enter fully into this loving relationship. Our encounter with Jesus at the end will be an encounter of love; it will be the summit of the adventure of love lived from our present life; our faith-in-action, our good discipleship. It will be like a wedding feast. But we must be prepared for the long-term.
Thank you for your your preparation, perseverance, and vigilance as disciples here at St. Francis. By giving your time, talent, and treasure you are demonstrating your wisdom and your endurance for the long haul. Your giving has helped our parish for 135 years! Keep up the great work! Next weekend, please bring your Commitment Cards to Mass or complete a card on-line at our parish website. We depend on your lamps burning brightly through generous giving of your time, talent, and treasure. When the Lord comes again, may He find you ready to enter the wedding feast!
Fr. Mark Zacker