When I think of today’s Gospel, I think of a great story about St. Charles Borromeo. He was playing cards one day with a small group of his friends, when the subject of death and dying came up. “What would you do if you knew you were near death?”
One said, “I would start to pray.” Another said he would go to confession, while the last friend said he would find a lawyer. St. Charles Borromeo simply kept silent and looked at the cards in his hands. Eventually, his friends spoke up and remarked at his lack of response. They asked him, “What would you do?”
He answered, “I would continue to play cards.” He said this because he was ready. And that is what Jesus is telling us in today’s parable – always be ready, no matter the schedule.
We would much rather have the Lord, the master of the house, welcome the latecomers. But he didn’t. They missed out. Why were they not prepared?
November is the month of the holy souls; a time to remember our loved ones who have died. None of us like to think about death, because there is so much to life. Even when people have seemingly nothing to live for, they live for life.
We all know death is going to catch up to us. What we don’t know is when that time will be. We must be prepared for not only our visitation of Jesus in judgement, but also for His visitations in life. I suggest that we live as if Christ is coming today. Not in fear or trembling, but in the realization that the Christ who is coming is already here in so many ways.
So, stop worrying about the end times; when Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. He is in those around you; in church and at home. He touches you in the hungry you nourish, in the stranger you welcome. In the sick you take time to console or the child you encourage. When you reach these people, you reach Christ. And so, when He does come, you will not be a stranger to Him. He will recognize you. We are recognized by Christ not by our card-carrying memberships, but by our faith and good works.
Still, remember the parable: When the foolish virgins ask the five wise ones to share some of their oil, the five say no. It might sound selfish, but the fact is that the oil stands for faith and good works, and those are not transferrable. You cannot borrow the oil of good works and faith from others. You must respond to God’s call yourself.
And, we must do as the Gospel says. Be ready. Stay awake.