Jesus warns men to remain vigilant in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can ponder the blessings of Heaven and by seeking the Virtue of Chastity so he can more effectively battle against lust.
21st Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Mt 25:1-13; 32nd Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 25:1-13
After revealing the violent worldwide turmoil and coming judgment of men in Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus again exhorts men to be morally ready at all times for His coming, for He will ultimately judge all men.
After a period of betrothal (married but living apart for a period of time prior to sexual relations), Jewish marriage customs at the time of Jesus, included the procession from the bride’s house to the groom’s house, often at night with lit torches, for a week-long feast. In The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Maidens, 10 maidens (Catholics) wait for the Bridegroom (Jesus), but are uncertain when the Bridegroom will arrive (meeting Jesus at death or in the Second Coming); all the maidens fall asleep (Catholics are imperfect).
The five wise maidens (faithful Catholics) hold on to their lamps (hold on to the Catholic faith) and are prepared with plenty of oil (a reservoir of faith and good works). The five foolish maidens (lukewarm Catholics) hold lamps (appear to profess the faith) but fail to obtain sufficient oil (fail to have deep faith and good works). When the Bridegroom arrives (men meet Jesus in the Judgment), the five wise maidens (faithful Catholics) who had sufficient oil (faith and good works) are invited in for the wedding feast (judged worthy of Heaven). The five foolish maidens (lukewarm Catholics), after they attempt to find oil, are too late and are not allowed into the wedding feast (judged not worthy of Heaven), with the bridegroom (Jesus) saying, “I do not know you.”
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be warned by Jesus, the perfection of Diligence (a part of Temperance), as He calls men to continual vigilance: the perfection of Prudence, Jesus carefully crafts the parable to say exactly what He wants men to know about being prepared for Heaven; the perfection of Justice, Jesus confirms His standard of Vindication (a part of Justice by which men are rewarded or punished based on their thoughts and acts); Jesus confirms the reality of the Judgment, and, as Divine Judge, that He will reward some who diligently do their duty to prepare for Heaven (the wise virgins) and will punish those who fail to prepare (the foolish virgins) by rejecting them from entry into Heaven and casting them into Hell (left in darkness).
Seek the Spirit to ponder Heaven
Realize: Because the reality of the Beatific Vision of God in Heaven is rarely discussed, many Catholic men fail to grow in understanding, hunger, and hope for the blessings of Heaven; this is a grave omission for it removes one of the most powerful motivators for men to seek holiness.
Believe: Reflect upon Heaven (CCC 163, 1020, 1023-1029, 1042-1050, 1052-1054).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so I might receive from You glimmers of the great and wondrous blessings of Heaven and grow in the fervent desire to spend eternity with the Blessed Trinity in Heaven.
Battle lust by growing in chastity
Realize: In opposition to Jesus’ Parable of the Maidens, which features virginity (maidens), chaste relations (betrothal) and the celebration of marriage, in these dark days of sexual promiscuity (pornography, masturbation, contraception, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, etc), many mock or ignore the idea of chastity and virginity.
Believe: Reflect upon Chastity (CCC 2337-2359) and The 9th Commandment (CCC 2514-2533).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Chastity, help me build the Virtue of Chastity (a part of Temperance) so I can more effectively battle the Deadly Sin of Lust, live with purity and modesty, and frequently turn to You in the Sacrament of Penance when I fall into sin.