2nd Week of Advent (Thursday, 13th December, 2018)
Feast of St. Lucy
Fist Reading: 2 Cor 10: 17 or Is 41: 13-20 (I am your redeemer)
Gospel: Mt 25: 1-13 or Mt 11: 11-15 (Jesus praises John the Baptist)
Today we are celebrating the feast of St Lucy. She is known for her courage in defence of the faith. She vowed to live her life in the service of Christ. Her dedication to the Lord helped her renounce a prosperous proposal for her future life through marrying a rich pagan. She got the courage even to convince her mother that Christ was better partner for her life. She grew interiorly in deeper faith in Christ as well as made her mother give the dowry money to the poor. The charity showed her external character of an obedient daughter of God. She symbolised mixture of faith and charity every Christian need to have. The result of her faith and charity was the endless persecution in many horrific forms at the hands of the then rulers but eternal reward in heaven at the end.
St. Lucy is a fitting example to explain the parable of the ten virgins of today’s gospel. The gospel describes the manner in which they were waiting for the bridegroom. While five waited for him with no extra oil, the other five had extra oil with them. The Jewish custom of marriage involved various ceremonies and processions before the bridegroom were to arrive at the house of the bride. This resulted in uncertainty about the time of arrival of the bridegroom. The ten virgins in today’s parable were aware of this reality as well. Therefore, they needed to be prepared accordingly. Alas, when the bridegroom came, only five with extra oil could trim their lamps and welcome him. On the other hand, as the other five foolish virgins running out of oil failed to get it from the otherwise virgins, they could not welcome him and therefore were kept out of the joy and merry of the wedding feast.
What does this parable mean for us? The bridegroom obviously meant Jesus Christ. The arrival of bridegroom’s arrival at any hour indicates that Christ will return at an unexpected and unknown hour. However, the certainty of his coming indicated preparedness necessary on the part of people to welcome Him. The oil indicates the necessities during waiting. In fact, as per the Jewish custom, people needed to have the burning torch in their hands. Those without them would be termed bandits. For bandits could enter at such instances in the cover of darkness to loot away the goods for themselves.
Advent, for us, is a special season of preparation to welcome Jesus in our midst. Our waiting can’t be in passive manner. The parable does not expect us to remain in the Chapel or church or keep on reading the Word of God so that he catches us holy and in contact with Him. We need to be actively waiting for him. We might keep ourselves busy with many works. Irrespective of any work we might be doing whether sleeping or eating or drinking etc., when he comes, we should not be found unworthy to enter into heaven or engaged in activities against the values of the kingdom of God.
We need to keep two necessary aspects in our mind while we wait for Gods’ coming. First is that the waiting is done one while we live on this earth. We can’t expect to rectify ourselves in the world to come. Secondly the waiting needs to be done by oneself personally. We can’t expect someone else to do the waiting for us or preparation for us. In other words, there is no second chance. The only chance available is here and now. We can’t live any type of life we want saying that we would have another chance. Moreover, as Pope Francis would say, the extra oil we need to have with us while we wait for the Lord is our faith and charity. When we have them in our store sufficient faith in God and charity for others, surely we would be like those five virgins who had extra oil and so could welcome the bridegroom and join the wedding feast. Amen.