Summary: The message is that apathy and carelessness are a much greater threat than any external force.
Fr. Murphy was visiting one of his elderly parishioners whom he hadn’t seen at church for a few months. “You know,” he said, “you are not getter any younger and you should start thinking more of the hereafter.”
She replied, “Thank you, Father, but I am always thinking about the hereafter; every time I go upstairs, I say to myself, ‘what am I here after?’ and every time I go into my kitchen, I say to myself, ‘what am I here after?’ I do it all the time now.”
Jesus is trying to get us to think about hereafter in our Gospel text today.
The custom was that the bridesmaids would wait for the groom and, upon his appearance, would accompany him to the wedding.
The ten bridesmaids are insiders who represent Christians. They all have lamps. They all fall asleep, but at the end of the story the door is shut against half of them. Five are not getting into heaven. The foolish bridesmaids beg and plead for some oil, and what is wrong with those stingy girls who won’t share their oil?
The oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. And what if we feel our lamps are burning low? If I ask you to share some of your Spirit with me, you can have only one answer. “It is not for me to give you the Spirit, you must go to the One who provides the Spirit.”
Luke 11:13 says, “how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
There is an interesting verse in Second Kings 2:9, where Elisha asked Elijah for a double portion of his Spirit. This tells us that we can ask for an anointing from another person powerful in faith, but that person can’t give the Holy Spirit because only God can do that through the sacraments.
Why didn’t the foolish bridesmaids have oil in their lamps when they needed it the most? Apathy. The conscious personality can so rigid and solidified and stuck in faulty thinking, that death happens before the person begins to live a moral, spiritual life.
The message is that apathy and carelessness are a much greater threat to to our eternal salvation than any outside threat. There is no such thing as once-saved-always-saved.
Here is an example of the wise bridesmaids—
The day of the cloistered Poor Clare nuns begins at 12:30 A.M. when the Sister designated as “Caller” knocks on each room door to summon her sisters to prayers. For them, it’s like our Gospel today, “The Bridegroom is here, come out to meet Him!”
Rev. 22:7 says, “I am coming back for you quickly!”
The Song of Solomon 5:2 says, “I slept but my heart was awake” meaning that we can watchful of Christ should he come for us in our sleep.
In the Gospel today, the action takes place at night because it is unexpected. The liturgical sense is for us to prepare for the Second Coming, and for our own death.
The moral application—Keep watch, be ready, otherwise you find yourself excluded from the happiness of the life of the age to come, although your general intentions may have been good.
There is a saying “Close doesn’t count—except in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Our eternal happiness too important to be left to “almost” or “close,” Amen.