The Gospel Today
Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
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.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Reflection (Sem. Jul Elden Nuique):
There is a legend, which comes to us in many versions, about how an angel wanted to test people’s resolve to live upright, moral lives. The angel goes down to the scorching depths of Hell and, with lots of water, puts out all the fires that frighten people on Earth into doing good. Next, the angel soars into the heights of Heaven and burns down all the magnificent mansions that inspire people on Earth to do good. Finally, the angel says that now we will know if people can still find reason to do good without the threat of eternal damnation or the promise of eternal bliss.
Why do we do good things and avoid doing evil? Is it because we fear punishment, or hope for future reward? Is following God and being with Him not enough reason to do good and avoid evil?
We were born with different abilities and our different states in life allow us various ways to live morally. However, it is up to us to decide whether we want to be moral or not. Each time we use all our capacities for goodness, we are with God. Each time we use all our capacities for evil, we turn away from God. He does not force us to be with Him, neither does He push us away. We are free to decide for ourselves.
Talents and wisdom have been given to us by our loving Creator, our Heavenly Father; whether we use these gifts to love Him by doing good is entirely up to us.