A Message from Father William

This Sunday, we hear another parable about the Kingdom of Heaven, which Jesus said will be like five wise virgins and five foolish ones who go out with lighted lamps to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13).

The five foolish virgins resemble us when our hearts are not filled with “spiritual oil,”
when we’re not living in word and deed the virtues of faith, hope and love. In other words, we become “foolish” when we choose to remain in sin, when we decide to stay away from God and His Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, when we do not seek the help of God the Holy Spirit and His gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear (reverence) of the Lord. In essence, the
foolish virgins heard the Word of God and did not put it into practice (Matthew 7:26).

By contrast, Jesus says, the other five virgins are wise because they heard the Word of God and put it into practice (Matthew 7:24) – they responded to God’s grace while awaiting the Bridegroom, cultivating a life of virtue that prepares them for the wedding. They exemplify the faithful, farsighted servant whom Jesus had just described (Matthew 24:45), one who knew how to dispense the provisions of the household at need. We resemble the wise ones to the extent that we strive by God’s grace to keep our lamps filled with the oil of holiness, to live in word and deed the virtues of faith, hope and love.

The reason why the wise virgins refuse to share their “oil” is simply that their “oil” cannot be shared. We cannot live others’ lives for them. We’re not the source of virtue
and therefore cannot “lend” another our rectitude, our honesty, our moral character, our resolve to embrace God’s grace with faith. Personal holiness is a gift from God that is unique and non-transferable. We either embrace the gift, or we do not. To meet Jesus
Christ the Bridegroom requires that we desire to follow Him, to be His disciples. This demands a life of sanctity, dedicated and devoted to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and His ways, diligent and disciplined in all our desires and choices. It means
that we decide on a daily basis to live the virtues of faith, hope and love, and the two
great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor. And when we don’t live in this way, that we would seek His mercy and His grace for conversion.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, may we always strive to be ready to greet Jesus the Bridegroom. Let us pray, therefore, to “stay awake” (Matthew 24:42-43), with oil lamps burning brightly with the source of all light: Jesus Christ. May we let His light shine through our words and deeds and not foolishly let our lamps of faith grow dim, acting as if God did not exist. Rather, let us be ready, keeping our lamps filled with the oil of the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession, God’s Word, and constant, heartfelt prayer, living the virtues of faith, hope and love, keeping God’s Commandments. May our lamps be radiant with this oil as we await our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Savior of the world.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William