Sermons

Summary: You bring your own oil when you realize that you have no control over the moment of the groom's arrival and it may be a while, but when he arrives, it will be a surprise. Rev. 22:7 says, “I am coming back quickly.”

Thanks to Troy Borst for the phrase B.y.o.o. (Bring Your Own Oil)

1. You bring your own oil when you realize that you have no control over the moment of the groom's arrival and it may be a while, but when he arrives, it will be a surprise. Rev. 22:7 says, “I am coming back quickly.” It takes place at night in our Gospel parable today because it's supposed to be unexpected.

The wise virgins had lamps lit with oil that sustained them for the journey and for the inevitable sleep that overtook all ten of them. The sleep here, as our Second Reading suggests, is a clear reference to death, where we will meet the bridegroom face to face for our individual and irrevocable particular judgment.

Song of Solomon 5:2 says, “I was sleeping, but my heart was awake,” and our First Reading describes this as wisdom; seeing time as it truly is – the threshold of eternity. Wisdom is like prudence, a sense of the big picture.

Our First Reading, in verse 15, promises that with wisdom you can have a peaceful outlook, “whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; you will soon find peace of mind.”

Keeping vigil means staying vigilant in the night.

e.g. In the ancient Qumran community one finds the members taking turns to study one third of the night. References to night-study are frequent, for example, Rabbi Johana said: The full crop of the Torah is garnered only at night, for so it says in Proverbs 31:15, 'She riseth also while it is yet night' and it is also written, 'Arise, cry out in the night' in Lamentations 2:19. Both these verses were understood to refer to the study of the Torah at night (source: Cant. R. V. 11, para. 1 pp. 239 f.).

The passage from Lamentations is particularly interesting. Here David is said to sleep until midnight and then rise to study Torah (Lam. R. II. 18-19, para. 22). Thus, midnight is deemed the special hour of revelation at which time the scholars should be at their scrolls. Therefore, when our Gospel today says, “At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” carries an important message for us of reading Scripture or some spiritual reading in the evening or if you find yourself unable to sleep at midnight.

2. BBOO also means to put up with a little inconvenience as our Gospel today says, "But the wise took oil in jars along with their lamps"--a little inconvenient to carry a lamp in one hand, and a jar in the other.

Our Gospel says, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.

A lamp is trimmed when the wick is turned either up or down to regulate the amount of flame. If a lamp is empty of oil, it does not matter how much one trims it—the lamp will go out when the oil is consumed.

A lamp trimmer used to be a position on a ship. This person had to keep the lamp reservoirs filled with oil and wicks trimmed every few hours. The application is that sanctifying grace has to be kindled by actual graces and frequent confession at regular intervals. Then it’s much easier to avoid the near occasions of sin, thereby guarding ourselves against possible falls.

The five foolish virgins show us that you cannot walk by the light of someone else’s lamp. ‘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. Then the door was locked. Maybe they thought that they could repent at the hour of death, but that would not work if one is caught unaware.

The oil is the Holy Spirit. John 14:17 speaks of, "He dwelleth in you" Sanctifying grace is the soul is also called Charity.

Unfortunately, mortal sin extinguishes the lamp in our soul unless we get it re-lit though the Sacrament of Confession.

e.g. At Qumran, archeologists found many ritual baths because the community knew that the Messiah would come from the East and march right by their community. So, they had all these ritual baths because God forbid, they ever got impure by staying in sin.

Preparedness for a Christian is receiving the sacrament of penance.

In the document “Caritas in veritate”, Pope Benedict XVI insists that charity must always start from the truth and that even charity without truth cannot exist.

We tend to equate love almost entirely with affection. But according to St. Paul, love is equal parts affection and truth. 1 Corinthians 13:6 says that, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

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