A parable tells a story, sends a message and provokes a question. Today’s story of the 10 virgins (Mt 25), half of them wise and half foolish, presents the message of the necessity of preparedness for the coming of the Lord. The five wise virgins brought their lamps, full of oil, so as to illumine the path of the bridegroom when he arrives. The five foolish ones brought only their oil-less lamps and would later rely on the wise ones for supply.

Some questions arise as we listen the dialogue between the virgins. The foolish ones asked: give us some of your oil. And the wise ones said: No, there may not be enough for both of us. Did not the wise virgins act selfishly here? If they were truly attentive to the bridegroom and cared for the success of his wedding, would it hurt to part with a few drops of oil?

The obvious answer was already given: the oil would not be enough for all. For the wise ones, it was impractical to share the oil. But another subtle reason deserves notice. The wise virgins counseled their counterparts: Go and buy some for yourselves. In effect, they were telling the foolish ones that to find light is a personal task. You have to go and procure it in person. You cannot rely on what others have. Your oil, your light must truly be your own.

There is a little but valuable lesson here. You cannot give away your light. You can make it shine for others to see and enjoy but you cannot part with it. Your knowledge and love for the Lord are the most important element, the core of your faith. That is what you offer to God as you meet his Son Jesus, the Bridegroom, everyday of your life.

In your life today, is their oil of faith and love for Jesus? Is there oil of knowledge and trust in him? Has your oil run dry? Then maybe it’s time to go and buy some for yourself. Let us ask the Lord to make us discover for ourselves the beauty and greatness of a relationship with him.