READING OF THE DAY
A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians
1 COR 1:17-25
Brothers and sisters:
Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the Gospel,
and not with the wisdom of human eloquence,
so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.
The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.
Where is the wise one?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age?
Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?
For since in the wisdom of God
the world did not come to know God through wisdom,
it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation
to save those who have faith.
For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY
From the Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘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.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Friday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time
The Word of God for Us
Dear People of God,
The Word of today instructs everyone to stay awake in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus compared entry to the Kingdom of Heaven to the parable of the ten virgins who took their lamps to meet their bridegrooms: five foolish virgins bringing lamps but no oil, and five wise virgins bringing lamps with oil. God used parables to tell people the Kingdom of Heaven will be open to those who are always awake to the coming of the Lord.
What is it like to be awake, waiting for the Lord to come? It is to have a heart of love, to live in charity, to share with everyone. Here are today’s lessons:
– The image of the five wise virgins who light a lamp to shine for many are examples of good deeds in the eyes of God.
– The image of the foolish virgins are the images of those who live selfishly, in sinful passion, lust, of not being awake to God’s love and not knowing the fear of God.
– The image of five virgins who cannot attend the wedding banquet with the groom is a warning to those who are living in sin, in lustful passions. They live far away from God, away from the faith. They are disobedient to God and unmindful of their fate after death, the day the Lord will come unexpectedly.
The Word of God today gives the image of five wise virgins and five foolish virgins to all of us to consider and decide: Do I want to be one of the wise virgins or one of the foolish virgins?
To live by the example of the wise virgins shows vigilance and preparedness. To keep the lamp full of oil is to keep one’s heart full of love for the Lord and others while waiting for the day when the Lord calls us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. If one chooses to live like the five foolish virgins, that is to live in lust and sin, and apart from God, that person will be excluded from the wedding feast and will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven on the day God calls them out of this world.
God invites everyone to make the choice to follow the example of the five wise virgins, to be always awake and ready to wait for the coming of the Lord. It is the wisest choice to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and enjoy happiness with God.
Thanks be to God. Amen.