The Gospel according to Matthew (25:1-13)
“At that time 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 took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
What a frightening and sobering experience that would be. This passage comes from the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Five of them were prepared to meet our Lord and the other five were not. When the Lord came, the five foolish virgins were off trying to get more oil for their lamps, and when they returned, the door to the feast was already locked. The above passage reveals what happened next.
Jesus tells this parable, in part, to wake us up. We must be ready for Him every day. And how do we make sure we are ready? We are ready when we have plenty of “oil” for our lamps. The oil especially represents charity in our lives. So, the simple question to ponder is this: “Do I have charity in my life?”
Charity is more than just simple human love. By “human love” we mean an emotion, feeling, attraction, etc. We can feel this way toward another person, toward some activity or toward many things in life. We can “love” to play sports, or watch movies, etc.
But charity is so much more. Charity means we love with the heart of Christ. It means that Jesus has placed in our hearts His own merciful heart and we love with His love. Charity is a gift from God that enables us to reach out to and care for others in ways that are far beyond our own abilities. Charity is divine action in our lives and it is necessary if we want to be welcomed to the feast of Heaven.
Reflect, today, upon whether or not you can see the heart of Jesus alive in your own heart. Can you see Him acting in you, compelling you to reach out to others even when it’s hard? Do you say and do things that help people grow in holiness of life? Does God act in you and through you to make a difference in the world? If the answer is “Yes” to these questions, then charity is certainly alive in your life.