To Be Foolish Or Wise?

Weekly Missionary Reflection
Sunday, 08 November 2020
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 08 November 2020

Wis. 6:13-17; Ps. 63:2,3-4,5-6,7-8; 1Thess. 4:13-18 (1Thess. 4:13-14); Matt. 25:1-13

The Kingdom of God which Jesus presents through His words and works, will reach its fullness in future, when He returns as “the Bridegroom”. The Kingdom of God is described as a wedding feast: there is a joy coming along with the Bride when entering a “new life”. Shall we be ready enough to join the party?

Ten virgins are the characters of the story: five wise and five foolish. The Last Day is usually described as a time of separation (cf. Matt. 25: 31-46). Let’s focus on the three main characters: the bride, the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins. The three of them bring three messages. First, the Bride is clearly referring to Christ who will return at His time. In the previous two stories, Christ’s return is likened unto the unexpected coming of a thief (24:43-44) or a master who returns too soon, beyond the expectation of his servant (24:45-51). This story does not emphasize on the “unexpected” or “too soon” aspect, but on the procrastination or late arrival. Procrastination can easily make us unalert. Whereas the procrastination tests our readiness and endurance. Procrastination should always make you and me ready to welcome Him, at any time. The delay also means the struggle of our life of faith in this world will be prolonged. We are challenged to persevere in the routine and daily struggle in life.

Second, the five wise virgins symbolize the believers who are always prepared. They are “wise” because they look forward and are well prepared (v. 10). They are aware of the approaching end of the world, and therefore are always alert and ready for it. It’s not necessary to label them selfish for not sharing the oil. Their refusal to share sends an important message: preparation for the day of the Lord’s coming is everyone’s personal responsibility and cannot be transferred to anyone else! Each of us must always be prepared with a burning lamp. Diciples with such quality have been emphasized by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16). The “light” is a symbol of good works and a proper moral attitude (cf. Mark 4:21; Luke 11:33).

Third, the five foolish virgins represent the unprepared believers. They are not alert, not because they fall asleep (the five wise virgins are also asleep!) but because they are foolish: they are not really ready for the day of the Lord’s coming. When Christ’s coming is delayed, they run out of oil. Their faith flares only at the beginning of repentance, but then fades and extinguishes in the long journey and struggle of life. When the Lord finally comes, they aren’t prepared. Eventhough they are eventually managed to buy the oil, they are still late. The door of the heavenly feast are tightly closed. The plea of “Lord, Lord…” does not make them known by the Lord. The door of Heaven is not opened by words, but by doing God’s words along the journey of life.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:
Artificial intelligence: May all robotic technology advances and artificial intelligence can be controlled for the sake of its noble purpose, that is to serve the human and humanity. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention:
For fathers: May all fathers continue to realize their authority and wisdom as the head of the family in the midst of social current that eroding family life today. We pray…

Special Intention:
We present all of the people in our Diocese to willingly fight for the justice in every residence and work. We pray…

Amen

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