First reading: Wi. 6:12–16
Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.
Second reading: 1 Th. 4:13–14
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Gospel: Mt. 25:1–13
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.”
In other words
by Fr. Joey Miras, SVD (Canada)
Udonis Haslem, the NBA player of the Miami Heat, keeps saying to his teammates, “Stay ready so that you don’t have to get ready.” Being ready does not mean being passive, and just waiting for the opportune time to come. It does not mean doing nothing. Being ready is similar to an engine revving up and raring to go. It has nothing to do with the sudden burst of energy but has something to do with energy and verve ready to be unleashed.
The coming of God may project the image of a passive waiting on the part of those who are waiting/expecting, but actually it is not. It has an element of dynamism already at work and goes on unnoticed. It is close to the story of Jesus regarding the growth of the Kingdom. He says that the Kingdom is like a seed growing unknown to the farmer who sleeps and wakes night and day. By itself, the earth produces the crop—first the stalk, then the head, then the grain that ripens within (Mk. 4:27). In like manner, we who are expecting the coming of God need to be actively engaged in the works of God. The seed of hope may eventually grow without our effort, but we also make it easier for the seed to grow if we lend a hand.
Cultivating that readiness may pose so many challenges. If a player’s number has never been called in many games, the player gets frustrated and may brood or sulk. He may even lose his confidence, and when that time comes, his mental makeup may not respond well. Readiness, however, is the constancy and consistency of the desire to play (the game of faith). Like what the First Reading says regarding the search for wisdom, it is the product of those who desire or seek her. “She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her; one who watches for her at dawn will not be disappointed, for she will be found sitting at the gate. For setting your heart on her is the perfection of prudence, and whoever keeps vigil for her is quickly free from care.”