“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” – Luke 12:32 (RSVCE)
Jesus gave us many parables describing heaven during his earthly ministry. My guess is that he had to use parables because our human minds could never grasp the vastness and beautiful reality of heaven. However, it seems that his parables describing heaven seem to leave us a bit fearful sometimes. In today’s parable the foolish virgins are locked outside the wedding feast, destined to live a life without their bridegroom. Yikes! To be so close and yet so far…
The Wise Virgins
What the wise virgins possessed that the foolish virgins did not was oil for their lamps. While all ten virgins carried their lamps, only half of them thought to carry the necessary oil so that they could light them at the required time. So what does the lamp and oil symbolize? And why did Jesus speak of heaven in the terms of lamp, oil, and virgins?
We see “lamp” used many times in scripture and it signifies the light of Christ within each and every one of us. Remember, we have been given the greatest gift of all – the light of Jesus Christ dwelling with in us! Moreover, we are called, like the ten virgins, to put this lamp high on a table for all to see. Our lamps must shine in the darkness, in the world filled with the sin and death that creates darkness.
We, like the virgins, will also become drowsy and fall asleep in this world from time to time. We will fall into sin – we will fall asleep and not see the light. At times we may feel lost in the darkness of this world. Yet, today’s Psalm reminds us that “The earth is filled with the goodness of the Lord.” If we have oil for our lamp, when we awaken our lamp will shine and we will see clearly the goodness around us. We can even offer light for others – especially those “foolish virgins” in search of the truth. We are called to be a light for all before the bridegroom arrives my friends. The world needs to see the light of Christ being illuminated through us.
“Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” – Matthew 5:15 (RSVCE)
Each virgin took her lamp with her. They each took Jesus Christ with them and this is why they were in “The Kingdom of heaven” to begin with. However, not all of them brought the oil necessary for their lamp’s illumination and this caused the unprepared virgins distress. What a frenetic trip back to the merchants that must have been – an trip that would forever separate them from their bridegroom because time had run out.
You see, Jesus Christ is in each and every one of us; however, we must do our part and supply the oil needed for his illumination inside of us. We must create the time and space in our life where we deepen our relationship with Jesus on a daily basis. We must carry our oil with us and make sure we have enough reserves to last through the dark times.
Virgin – Innocence
We live in a world where we are drowsy and many have fallen asleep. To be fully alive calls us to be filled with Christ and free of what causes our slumber – free of sin and death. Of course we cannot do this without Jesus Christ. With the innocence of the virgins we must follow Christ, he will reveal to us how to light our lamp and he will supply the oil it needs. He does this when we spend time with him. Now it’s time to ask yourself how you best spend time with Jesus.
I personally meet him in frequent daily Mass, perpetual adoration, receiving Holy Communion, in the sacrament of Reconciliation, and when I listen to Christian music through out the day. By the way – listening to Christian music is something I highly recommend that parents offer their young children on a regular basis. Such an action will set their subconscious minds on Jesus and they will return to him when they “slumber” later in life.
I have written about the Bridegroom in Chapter 12: The 8th Face of Struggle: Addictions, Religion, and God of my book, Understanding the Jesus Code. Please allow me to share with you an excerpt from this chapter in today’s reflection.
Remember, Jesus is a gentleman, and he will always respect your free will to choose him. He will not call you to work by his side unless you desire to do so. And like a true gentleman, he will sweep you off your feet and carry you away to his castle once you say yes—remember he has many castles. With your yes, you are invited into his church—his bride. The bride he died for.
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.”—Mark 2:19-20 (RSVCE)
God promised to never leave his church. As a matter of fact, he gave his only son so she could fully live. Yes, she has suffered wounds while living in the world, how could she not? Who could sustain the full attack of the prince of this world without picking up some battle wounds along the way? Especially when this prince wants nothing more than to destroy you. Jesus understands the trials she faces, and he loves her beyond all measure. Yet the trials she faces, like the trials you face, hold the power to draw her closer to her bridegroom.
WHO IS THE CHURCH?
The church is Jesus’s beloved, and she is made up of the children he died for. Yes, our church is made up of human beings who are subject to sin; however, Jesus desires her, and he is healing her. She is on display for all the world to see. The world has persecuted her with great vengeance, and she carries her pain forward. I know she has wounded many innocents, and I have personally heard some of their stories. She has been both perpetrator and victim. However, her wounds, like yours, provide her an opportunity to grow closer to her bridegroom.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word.—Ephesians 5:25-26 (RSVCE)
Perhaps you are being called to help the church so she can support those who seek the much-needed solace that can only be found within her walls. Maybe you are being called to help fortify her so she can become the bride Christ yearns for. We are all being called in some way. In my parish, we are seeing an increase in religious vocations: young men and young women giving their life to the church. I sit in awe as I witness the deep love they have for Mother Church and her children. A young man whom I have known since he was in kindergarten recently received his final vows and is now a priest, Father Kyle Neterer. Father Neterer has always had a kind, tender heart, and I know he will bring forth much good for those who seek solace with the walls of the church. Christ calls each and every one of us into his church for a purpose—so that she may become holy and pure.
So as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.—Ephesians 5:27 (RSVCE)
The transformation will happen; the church will be presented to her bridegroom in perfect splendor. God has already revealed to us this miraculous celebration. The question now becomes, will you be at the wedding feast in the new Jerusalem? Will you join with Christ in the greatest celebration of all time? Will you partake of the celebration of this holy union? Will you say yes, will you become transformed, will you persevere and become cleansed so as to garner an invitation to this holy union? Many have already risen above their pain, many have already carried their cross, and many have already guaranteed their invitation, and they can show you the way. Our holy saints and our holy men and women that have gone before us lie await in service for you to call upon them. I hope to see you there my friend.”
Be blessed my friends. May we all meet together at the wedding feast! May we all become wise as we surrender and follow Jesus Christ. What a fabulous celebration that will be – let’s not miss the party! – Carolyn
Sacred Heart of Jesus – have mercy on us.
Mother Mary, most beautiful virgin, – pray for us
Today’s Readings: Corinthians 1:17-25, Psalm 33; Matthew 25:1-13
Special note to my readers.
First I want to thank you for reading my reflections from the bottom of my heart. Your comments often bring tears of gratitude to my eyes – I am humbled. I treasure the gift of being able to write for you. Secondly, many of you have asked about the availability of my new book; Understanding The Jesus Code. Currently my book is available as Pre-Order on Amazon in it’s Kindle version. (there is a free Kindle App on Amazon that you can get for your PC if you need it). Within the next couple of weeks it will be available in softcover through Amazon.
I am trying to figure out the best way to have my book available to as many individuals in the world as possible. Initially it will be available on Amazon; however, as things develop I will expand on this and it will be available in more places.
God bless all of you – see you next week Friday! – Carolyn