32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
“But the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.” The foolish versus the wise. Today’s parable sets these two groups in stark contrast to one another. Two crowds of young women wait for a wedding feast. One group comes prepared for the unexpected, the other just assumes everything will go according to schedule. But it doesn’t! The Bridegroom is late, and the foolish virgins are left out in the dark—literally—while the wise ones enjoy the feast inside.
The lesson here is not just about having foresight and gathering the corresponding equipment. It’s about being ready for the second coming of Christ. Jesus himself is the “Bridegroom.” Traditionally we refer to the Church as the “Bride of Christ” and we, as the people of God who constitute the Church, are even now awaiting the real feast, the culmination of time when Jesus returns. But are we standing among the wise or the foolish as we wait?
Jesus tells us today, “Stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Are we spiritually awake? Do we have extra oil to see us through, or are we hitting the bottom of the barrel and running on spiritual fumes so to speak? Do we think it’s enough to do the bare minimum as we wait for Christ—stepping into church without really being present, or calling ourselves Christian without really taking up the challenge of the cross? In order to avoid standing outside the feast with the foolish, we will want to make sure we fill our flasks with oil or, in other words, fill our hearts with the love of God, fill our minds with his word and his teachings, and fill our souls with the virtues that unite us to his will. If we stock up on these important supplies, we can count ourselves among the wise!