REFLECTION FOR TODAY
August 27, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise.” Matt. 25:1-2
Like the ten virgins in our gospel reference today, as Christians we too are waiting for the bridegroom to come and invite us to the wedding banquet. Also like them, none of us know the time the bridegroom will arrive. But we don’t need to be like the five whose lamps went out for lack of oil. We need to be vigilant and prepare. God has given us enough oil.
The “oil” in the parable symbolizes two things. The Holy Spirit or Charity. God has given us an unlimited supply of oil to keep our lamps burning, the Holy Spirit. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit on the day of our confirmation. The Holy Spirit is ever present to work with us and we can count on the Holy Spirit to keep our hears aflame.
The oil as symbolizes Charity is very practical. As we prepare to meet the Lord, it is not enough to make the claim that we are Christians. We must also produce the good fruit of charity by our actions. Faith must result in charity, otherwise it is not true faith at all.
Charity is not based on your preferences in life. It’s not based on what you feel like doing. Charity is always selfless and sacrificial. It always looks toward the good of the other. How much charity do we possess in our lives as Christians? Jesus was aware of many who professed a faith in God but did not live the love of God hence he told the parable.
It’s very easy to live our lives day in and day out, doing what we do because of our personal likes or dislikes. However, it is very difficult to foster true charity within our souls and to regularly choose to love others because it is good for them. We must work to foster charity, by eliminating critical and condemning thoughts and strive to see others as God sees them.
Charity must also direct our words. Our words should be encouraging, kind, supportive and merciful. Our actions become charitable when we become generous with our time, go out of our way to serve and are diligent in the ways we express our love of others.
Reflect, today, upon the oil of the Holy Spirit and Charity you possess in your life as you await the Lord’s coming. Spend time reflecting upon your relationship with the Holy Spirit and what charity truly is. Have you allowed yourself to become guided by a more secular and selfish form of “love?” Do you act more out of selfish preferences than out of self-giving and sacrifice? Do you truly build people up and witness the love of God to them? Try to answer these questions seriously. This parable spoken from our Lord is much more than a story. It is truth. And the truth is that some will arrive at the day of judgment without the necessary “oil” for their lamps. Take our Lord seriously and examine your life of charity. Where you are lacking, become fervent in your mission to change. In the end, you will be eternally grateful you did.
Lord, You showed us all that true love is selfless and sacrificial. You came to this world to serve and to give Your sacred life for us all. May I open my life more fully to Your love so that Your love may also affect and direct every relationship I have. Fill me with the gift of charity, dear Lord, so that I will be fully prepared for the day of my individual judgment. Jesus, I trust in You.