This is one of the most recognizable parables and also one of the most instructive about this life and the next. The gospel speaks of virgins about to attend a wedding ceremony.  They were tasked to welcome the bridegroom and accompany him to the wedding feast.  Five were wise virgins.  Five were foolish. What does this classification mean – wise and foolish?

Why not wise and ignorant?  Ignorant would mean that these virgins were unaware of some things and therefore not guilty of not having oil for their lamps.  Why not wise and dumb?  Dumb would mean that they were simply incapable of thinking and reflecting deeply on things.  Why not wise and lazy? Lazy would imply that these virgins were just plain sloppy in their task.

The Lord Jesus preferred to call the virgins, wise and foolish.  The foolish ones knew what they needed to do but simply refused to do it.  While the wise virgins brought oil together with their lamps, the foolish ones, the Lord says:  brought no oil with them.  It was intentional not to bring the oil!

They knew they needed something but they deliberately did not bring any. Not a single drop.  Notice that the wise virgins were not said to have brought too much oil.  They brought just enough for their needs and passed the test.  The foolish ones did not bother to bring any at all.

So it is not a case of forgetfulness or lack of information or laziness.  It seems that these virgins simply refused to bring oil because they had no intention of lighting up their lamps.  They really did not want to cooperate with the mood of the wedding itself.  Physically present but spiritually absent from it all.

Isn’t it that at times we bump into people who join us for the beach but don’t bring swimming gear?  Or go to school without their pen and paper?  Or attend parties without gifts for the celebrant?  They know what’s essential but are simply uninterested in giving their total attention.

The remedy therefore, is interest, enthusiasm, excitement for what’s before you!  For life and for eternal life! We can go through life bringing only the basics, the lamp, without the oil to ignite it and make it glow and shine.  Cohabiting couples content to live outside the sacrament of Marriage –  they have no oil to make their marriage a source of grace.  People who work just for the money – they have no oil to aim for excellence and fulfillment.  Believers satisfied with rituals and traditions – they have no oil to deepen their relationship with God.

God prepared life like a feast.  Are you here to enjoy it?  To maximize your participation in the celebration?  Or are you simply going through the motions?  There is still time.  Ask God for the oil that will make your lamp shine!