Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel of today presents to us the parable of ten maidens: five foolish and five wise.
The foolishness or the wisdom of these women consisted in being prepared for what they were supposed to do. The line separating the wise and the fool is very thin. Let us analyse the differences between these two groups. All the ten were very clear of what they were called for. They prepared themselves. They took the lamps with them. They were waiting for the bridegroom. Due to the delay in the arrival, all of them became drowsy and slept. Hearing his arrival all of them woke up and got ready. There is no difference between these two groups in all these except that one group had extra oil that could support the lamps they had while other group didn’t. It is just a marginal difference. But the end result of this difference was tragic – the latter could not be part of that for which they were called for. In other words, the bridegroom wanted them to be ready with lamps and everything related to it. They took care of many things but missed out the essential.
What does our bridegroom want us to be ready with? What does our loving Master expects from us? Lord Jesus wants us to be with a holy life: “The will of God for you is to become holy (today’s first reading).” This exhortation calls for a serious introspection. What do we give importance in our life? We might be worried of so many things in life, preparing ourselves in numerous ways with enormous effort, forgetting this profound and necessary counsel. Let us not assume that holiness is required only of a few (religious, priests or those who proclaim the Word of God). It is expected of everyone at every moment. A failure to live by this ideal is a mere disobedience of God’s will. Sacrifice and offering God does not desire; but an open ear (Ps 40: 6) that listens to His voice and lives by it. A voice that says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev 11:44)