Be wise: Keep your faith burning brightly!
33rd Sunday: Stay awake, be watchful and ready
The Gospel is an oracle of judgment. Israel was pursuing a path leading to doom, and the day of judgment was coming. Then the Lord would arrive to sort out who belonged to the kingdom of God and who did not, weighed in terms of faith that is alive or, seemingly, dead. This living faith is still very relevant for us, as it we that now must consider the day of the Lord.
It is not doom and gloom though. Through watchfulness and fidelity to Christ, God’s chosen people can easily seek and find true wisdom, and so prepare for the great day of judgment. St Paul states that for those who follow Jesus, and that have died in Christ through faith and baptism, will also share in his fate. If we are faithful God will bring us to the great wedding hall and we will reign with Christ in heaven for all eternity.
In the parable, the great contrast is between wisdom and folly. For us listeners we must consider the path our life is proceeding down. We cannot take the oil, meaning the unction of the Spirit, from another person. We are judged according to the measure of our own faith, on an individual basis.
The message is not all doom and gloom but it is one of urgency, and of making sure we are prepared. Our faith must be kept burning brightly. If the light of Christ in our hearts is extinguished, we suffer eternal rejection. This is only fitting for it is our own folly that first leads us to reject Christ.
Judgment is coming. If you or I have no faith, we will not be worthy of the promises of Christ. So, the message is crystal clear: be like a wise bridesmaid, prepare your heart, be ready to meet Jesus. Watchfulness and a loving fidelity to Christ who is the wisdom of God, is key to this preparedness.
The great consolation is that wisdom is easily discerned by those who love her, and is found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her. One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty, for she will be found sitting at the gate. One who is vigilant on her account will soon be free from care, because she goes about seeking those worthy of her, and she graciously appears to them in their paths, and meets them in every thought. Thanks be to God.