Are you ready?
As we meditate on today’s Gospel, I am reminded of our unpreparedness in so many areas of our lives and our country. The immediacy of natural and man-made disasters everywhere calls us to take stock, to pay attention, and to be aware for we do not know the time or the hour.
We only have to look back at the floods of recent months, both here and abroad, and see that the areas which were least affected, were the ones where resources and systems were in place, and therefore immediate assistance was able to be provided to its citizenry. Those cities and individuals who took heed of the warnings of the impending storm were better able to protect life, limb and property, whereas those who did not were devastated.
Here the Gospel tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom, five of them were wise and five were foolish. The foolish virgins took their lamps and took no oil with them. But the wise virgins took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
I truly believe that those foolish virgins were slothful, lazy, believing that they would have time to get the oil from somewhere and make it in time to meet the bridegroom, for the Scripture says that while waiting for the bridegroom, they grew drowsy and went to sleep. Why didn’t they use that time to go and get their oil?
When they were awakened and told that the bridegroom was coming, they then turned to the wise virgins and said “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” The wise virgins responded and said “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.”
I loved the wisdom of the obviously wise virgins, they made a stand. I could hear them speaking in our lingo… ‘No! Sorry, too bad, go and buy yours. No freeness here!’
I think that if those foolish virgins were foolish Trinis virgins, they would have been shocked to be told to go and buy their oil. Those would be the ones that say God is a Trini. We have got so accustomed to this ‘eat-ah-food mentality’, that to tell them to go and buy their oil would not have gone down well at all!
The Scripture today is calling us to make a stand for what is right, and not to miss out on our blessings due to the foolishness of others. Too bad for those who don’t like you when you say no to them – stand firmly on your principles. Too bad if they become your enemies, or not speak to you again.
Foolishness has become rampant in our society, in our homes, in our relationships, in our systems, and in our institutions. We do not make a stand and because of that we are rotting at the core.
Fear no man, only fear God. We have become like the foolish virgins, not getting our act together nor noting the consequences. We are allowing the blessings, and the good that God has for us to dissipate, because we encourage foolishness and continually appease foolish people.
The Gospel tells us that when the foolish virgins went to buy their oil, the bridegroom arrived. They missed their moment! How many of us have missed and continue to miss ours!
Similarly when Noah went into the Ark, the people were feteing, unprepared and were swept away by the flood. We have to be ready and prepared at all times to meet the bridegroom when he arrives, or we will be too late, the door will be closed.
Today is the day of salvation! Let us not be foolish and miss our moment, like those foolish virgins, for when they arrived later begging “‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us.’ But he replied, ‘I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.’ So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.”
There is a saying that God don’t like ugly, well God also don’t like foolishness.
So let us make sure that we prepare ourselves today and make a stand for righteousness, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
The Gospel reflections for November are by Jemma Allong-Redman, founder of A Way of Living in Christ International, a spiritual support group for adults; the artistic director of the Southern Christian Drama Ministry, and a television co-host. She is a parishioner of St Peter’s RC Church, Pointe-a-Pierre, and St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.