This week, the parable of the ten virgins invites us to ponder about being ready at an intimate level.


In our daily lives, we can be occupied with getting prepared, be it for school, for work, for an appointment or even for our favourite TV series. As we approach the end of this liturgical year, we will be celebrating Christmas (the coming of the Lord into the world through the birth of Jesus Christ). Is this season going to be different for you?


The bridegroom referred in the gospel is Jesus Christ! As Catholics, we are mindful and profess in our creed that Christ will come again. However, we do not know the hour, like the ten virgins. If we want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven with the Bridegroom when He comes, we need to be ready, prepared for His arrival. It is going to take more than just a lamp you need to have sufficient oil too. The five foolish bridesmaids were ready, like you and I (by attending Eucharistic Celebration, going for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, giving alms, reading the Scriptures and attending Bible courses). Is this enough?


Oil here represents the presence of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. Oil symbolizes a deep and personal relationship with God. It is the oil that keeps the lamp lit. The lamp reminds us of the call to be the light of the world. It is the presence of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit, the deep relationship with God that will make us shine brightly. When the foolish virgins asked for oil from the wise virgins, they did not get the oil, for this is a relationship that is unique to each individual. We can share how it is for us but we cannot give it away because of its uniqueness.


The lamps of the wise virgins were shining bright as they listened and followed Jesus teachings. They were obedient and faithful. On the other hand, the light of the foolish virgins was going out as they ran out of oil resembling that they listened to the teachings but did not put it into action in their lives. Over time the fruits of God’s Spirit will begin to disappear if we do not keep the oil in it and the light be taken over by ugly actions. The virgins knew by teaching that the bridegroom would first go to the bride’s home with his entourage. After which a procession through the streets, returning home once nightfalls. The need for lamps with sufficient oil (relationship) as these ceremonies may take longer than expected. Why did the five foolish virgins not bring enough oil? It could be that they just relied on the old ways of the relationship and did not develop it further. Every relationship should be refreshed by new experiences and new memories created.


To enter the house with the bridegroom, we must follow Him, be ready with what is essential at the unexpected hour.  In Matthew7:21 states, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father”. We need to live in the presence of the Holy Spirit, allowing the Spirit to lead us in living the will of the Father, in accordance to His Holy Word, emulating the life of Jesus as our way of life. That’s the only way of being prepared for the coming of the bridegroom.


We, too, must be ready, Jesus tells us. We do not know the hour of His return, the coming of the Son of Man will be at a time that we don’t expect.


So which one is you, the wise or the foolish bridesmaid?


Will we be ready when our “bridegroom” arrives?