Ten virgins for one bridegroom—pretty good odds. However, as we all know, most bridegrooms can barely handle one virgin. Remember, it’s a story! The parable is meant to spark our thinking about the Kingdom.
Although cultures apart, we are familiar with wise behavior and foolish behavior. At a typical wedding, there is a lot of foolish behavior. Just in expenses alone. Cash, credit cards, loans are maxed out as if there is no tomorrow. All to make an impression. Got to have the prettiest dresses, most expensive flowers, splendid reception. By the way, that is where most of the planning starts—the reception. According to the availability of a favorite venue, the rest is programed around the reception, the music, the cake. After the important stuff, someone remembers about contacting the Church. “Oh yes, we’d better check to see if the church is available for our wedding. What do you mean that we have to wait for six months? Why can’t we get married in three months?” The guidelines for marriage are not designed to make people wait, but to offer preparation to receive the Sacrament. The best preparation should be offered at home, by parents. They are supposed to be the models of living the Sacrament of marriage. However, many parents avoid the topic. Some defer their responsibility to others. Indeed, a lot of foolish behavior is perpetuated by not speaking about matters that are important. The union of husband and wife most reflects the union of Christ with His Church. The Church is the spouse of Christ. That’s why each home is the domestic Church—at least intended to be.
We continue to place importance on things that do not matter, while neglecting the areas that need out attention. In trying to make a living we forget how to live. Possessions are often the way in which we show someone that we care for them. We forget that spending time is the most precious gift we can offer, especially to our family. Everybody is busy. Now a days, we must make an appointment with a third grader if we want to speak with them. When folks aren’t busy, they are occupied with videos on the cellphone. Talking is something that happens only when there is a problem and that’s the problem. Families do not spend much time in conversation. The consequence is alienation. Little wonder that children avoid speaking with their parents because they only time that they talk is when something is wrong. Therefore, they avoid the confrontation.
When we want to avoid confrontation, we hide. Some are experts at hiding. We hide in addictions, pornography, behind closed doors. If we hide well, then we do not have to face our foolish behavior. In the story lamps play an important role. Lamps give light. Light exposes the good and the bad. Perhaps the foolish virgins intended for their lamps to go out and then regrated their decision because they were not prepared to welcome the bridegroom. Jesus is the bridegroom who comes to greet us. How prepared are we? Are our lamps burning brightly? If we are weighed down with guilt, there is no light shining. Resentments cause our light to dim. Worries about the past or the future will distract us from focusing on the bridegroom. The challenge is to “stay awake”! Be prepared, for we know not the day nor the hour. The day is today. The hour is now. The Lord is here. We come with our imperfections and the bridegroom embraces us with open arms. Everyone is welcome. However, the foolish, who think themselves unworthy, ill prepared, with lamps that are not bright will lock themselves out of the banquet. Therefore, stay awake! We must wake up to the beauty that is within. God’s love shines in our soul and no one can dim His love for us!
We desire to be numbered among the wise. Wisdom comes from knowing that we are loved unconditionally.