Saint Matthew 25. 1-13
Last Sunday in Church Year: 24 November Anno Domini 2013
(Trinity 27 Propers)
Fr. Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
The Word of God is clear. The Kingdom of heaven, or as it is elsewhere called by Christ The Kingdom of God, is His people, His own Body—His brothers, sisters—His Bride. Just as His Divine and Human Nature are joined in the hypostatic union of the One Jesus of Nazareth, so too the King, Christ Jesus, and the Kingdom, His Church & family, are one and inseparable.
Only God knows His elect. Christians know that they are predestined because the Word has been applied and received through faith by the Grace of the Giver—God. Are you elect? Well, are you baptized; are you receiving the Eucharist this Mass; are you singing the Liturgy, praying the Our Father, and remembering your Baptism as you receive the Absolution from Christ? You are the five wise Virgins. You are not what you did, selected, or chose but rather you are what the Bridegroom made you.
Not all men and women are elect Virgins, Not all of humanity will be saved from the final flood of fire. It’s not that 50% will be damned and 50% saved but rather that five and five make a perfect ten. The five that are lost show you that the five books of Moses, the Law, save no one. Your works and efforts do not open the door to the Groom’s Mansion and banquet table. The ten virgins are all alike in this manner. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No one deserves the Nuptial Hall. The Virgins in Jesus’ parable have no names or distinctive characteristics save one…the wise ones took oil in their vessels with their lamps. In the Hebrew Scriptures the Paraclete is referred to as the Wisdom of God. The Word is also God’s Wisdom made flesh!
All men and women, to the naked eyes of all other men and women, look alike…sinful and unclean. That is how you appear to others. No one can see faith. What is seen are the good works and the confessions and actions of faith which produce martyrs. The anonymity of the Virgins is to show that in Christ’s Church Militant, as well as in the world at large, one cannot judge and blindly excommunicate solely on the base of appearances.
Will an individual have light in their lamps from the necessary oil when the Groom meets them at the final trump?
You like Cain and Abel, and Adam and Eve before them, were given your lamps. You have your body and souls purely as a gift from your creator! Oil is symbolic of that gift of faith by the Holy Ghost. Not all, not many perhaps, of those we call pagan have it…God’s will be done; may the Mission of the Church be accomplished in all the world! But even in those who appear to be in the family of the Church, not all wind up with oil at the day of reckoning. Abel had oil when he died a martyr; Cain appeared not to have any faith…no “fuel” to ward off the fire of hell. Saul and David were both claimed and crowned by God (via Samuel) but Saul’s eternal light was extinguished, not on Mount Gilboa but in the Calvary of his own rejecting and unbelieving heart. Judas surely had oil in his vessel in the beginning of his brief three-year Sainthood as a Disciple, one of the “12,” but when the Master meets all of you at the Parousia, it will be the denying Peter and the doubting Thomas who will greet you with their oil of belief, the gift of faith and adoption!
Your lamps “look” good. But faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Even old and well used, worn-out looking lamps, are perfectly fine. Do you have oil? What did the Virgins do to have oil for they all fell asleep, that is they all died as sure as they all sinned—for the wages of sin is death. Christ says “but the wise took oil in their vessels…” They took says the text. One cannot, unfortunately use this somewhat cryptic verse to construct an entire theology of salvation but rather must use the rest of the Evangels to flesh out the body of truth. To “take,” here, means to protect, hold, and guard that which has been given. To “take” means not to despoil, throw away, discard, reject, or apostatize.
You have been baptized? Good! You are + a Virgin in the “eyes” of your Triune God—clean, pure and unsullied through Christ’s Law-keeping and sin-atoning on the Cross. Do you remember, “take,” your Baptisms and repent your daily trespasses in contrition while “taking” the oil of absolution? Do you daily “take” the oil of the Word of Life found in your Groom’s love letters to you—the Scriptures? Do you “take” the oil of forgiveness, life and salvation in the Mass of Mercy every Lord’s Day and all other times it is dispensed for your healing and heaven? Good! Very good! Gospel!
Like a mother lioness, dog, bear, rabbit, or any other warm blooded, milk producing mammal “knows” its own litter, its own cubs, pups, and kits; so too the Lord knows His own…they look like Him because they’re wearing + His wedding garment. They smell like Him scenting the room with myrrh, cassia, aloe, frankincense and Lillie. They speak like Him because they have had their lips open to declare His praise in the power of His Name. They bear the marks of the crucifixion in their own cross-bearing and faithful martyrdoms. They are filled with the oil of Christ’s light because the Spirit abides in them.
I’m talking about you Virgins. And now, with the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary of Nazareth—your patron Saint—the exemplar/avatar of the entire Church Catholic; and with all the other Virgins who are Saints, Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, Priests, Deacons, Presbyters and Bishops…now is the day, now is the hour, the Son of man cometh.
In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost