Matthew 25: 1-13 is another parable as to who will be ready for the kingdom of heaven. I say another because there are several places where Jesus tells a story to explain the need to be ready, A Cautionary tale about preparedness. In this selection the familiar setting of a wedding is used and we are given the example of 10 virgins who are waiting for the bridegroom and the celebration to start. At the outset, they seem alike until we are told that five were wise and five were foolish. The wise virgins brought oil for their lamps and the foolish ones did not. They were not prepared. When the bridegroom finally arrived the five wise virgins were ready to process in the darkness with their lamps for illumination to the celebration and they entered with the bridegroom. The five foolish virgins had to go back, find oil and when they arrived they were locked out of the celebration. Worse for them when they asked to be admitted the bridegroom said, “I do not know you!” and denied them entry.
Had I been one of the foolish virgins I would have been mortified. The cost for the virgin was missing a party but the cost for we who wait for the messiah to come again is far worse if we are not prepared. We risk losing out on the kingdom of heaven. Matthew makes a point of reminding us that we will not know the day or the hour. People that look like good Christians on the surface may be surprised to note that they did not make the cut. All these warnings must not fall on deaf ears. We need to practice our faith daily, live it and have the Lord recognize us as his own on that day.
I think that we see all these reminders is because people tend to get complacent. Much like we Californians who get constant warnings about “The Big One” and the need to be prepared …we resist or just ignore the advice and fail to prepare. Sometimes we talk about earthquake weather or take note of quake activity close by but even that is not enough to motivate most of us to anchor furniture to walls, stockpile food, flashlights and water. Oh, maybe we start to do this but then we need the batteries for our child’s new toy or the neighbor asks to borrow a case of water they didn’t have time to go to the store for and we slump into apathy about our emergency stash. Despite our initial good intentions we slump back into a state of Christians, we don’t know the time or the hour that the Lord will return so it is our job to be ready always. We need to be the ones that follow Jesus’ teachings of love and his commandment to love the Lord with all our hearts and souls and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Sitting in a pew on Sunday morning is not enough, we must truly believe and act. We don’t know the time or the hour. We don’t know if we will be living then but we must prepare our hearts. We must love our neighbor everyday not just on Sunday. Be prepared, and remember that also applies to those earthquake supplies!