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.”
For me, this parable of the ten virgins has always been one of the most difficult to understand. It just seems so bizarre! It has no equivalent here on earth.
Maybe that’s the point!
The kingdom of heaven may be likened to five wise virgins. It appears as though the wise are those who enter heaven. They are also the ones who come prepared. The wise think prudently. They have foresight. They live neither by emotion nor by carpe diem. They live prepared…“just in case.” The Lord most likely used the example of virgins because he was thinking of His mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am sure that Mary, like most mothers, often told her child to bring a sweater…just in case or to wait outside…just in case.
In this parable, the “virgins” represent those who have set their hearts, minds, eyes and ears upon the Lord. He is their bridegroom. He is their goal in life! He is their peace and happiness. The lamps represent wisdom. In times of darkness, we need light. The Lord is the Light of the World. The Holy Spirit enlightens the hearts and minds of all who call upon Him. The Holy Spirit - Sacred Wisdom - is required in order to help us navigate through the caves, tunnels and tombs that abound all the days of our lives. The wise virgins are those who have brought extra oil…just in case, “for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of God will come.”
Blaise Pascal was a famous mathematician, philosopher and theologian. In fact, Pascal C+ is a well known computer program named in honor of him. Not only was Pascal a great logical thinker. He was also a great Christian believer. He knew how to handle an atheist when he saw one. His famous “Pascal’s Wager” is a simple way to argue why we should all believe in God. It goes something like this. There are only two possibilities when it comes to God. Either God exists or He does not exist. If God exists and I believe then I win the greatest prize ever: eternal life. If God exists and I do not believe, then I am the biggest loser ever – I have lost eternal life! Now, if God does not exist and I do not believe in God, I gain nothing. If God does not exist and I do believe, I lost nothing. Conclusion: Bet on God…just in case. Only the fool would bet on something that for sure would yield nothing?
This parable is an invitation from the Lord to His disciples to stay awake! To “Stay awake” is another way of saying, “Don’t get distracted.” Don’t get distracted by pain, suffering, loss or sin. Don’t lose sight of the biggest place ever: Heaven! Don’t get distracted by the nonsense of the world or by false gods! Do not get distracted by those who claim there is no God (or bridegroom).
Live your life in the image and likeness of the Lord. Live your life according to the Law of the Lord. You will be one of the few, the proud, and the wise!