Rely on God’s Grace

FRIDAY: Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time


Rely on God’s Grace

Sobriety, morality, fidelity, vigilance, stewardship, accountability, collectively summaries the first reading and the Gospel of the day. Both Jesus and Paul, each in their respective sphere, in their quest to persuade genuine holiness among the faithful challenge us to live sober lives, cultivate a high sense of morality and chastity and always be ready to give a true account of our stewardship. Paul is particularly clear on this matter: the mission of Christians in the world is to prepare himself or herself for a deep spiritual revolution, transform himself or herself and renew the world (Rom.12:2). By living sober lives, Christians will not return to the habits and practices of the past (Lev.18:30). Instead, Christians will measure up to their ultimate vocation to be holy in obedience to God who gives them the Holy Spirit (1Thess.4:1-8).

The Church is the bride of Christ (Rev.21:9; 19:7). It is through Christ God keeps calling his disloyal spouse to return to him (Jer.3:14). The Church is a permanent reminder that God made himself our spouse (Is.62:4). We owe our fidelity to God who promised “after I have gone and prepared you a place, I will return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too (Jn.14:3).

The parable of the ten bridesmaids reinforces the need for sobriety, morality, fidelity, vigilance, stewardship and accountability among all Christians. We live, today, in a very permissive, thoughtless and reckless world. The chasm between Christ and ourselves keeps widening on a daily basis. The second coming of Christ appears as if it is already obliterated from the minds of many who are baptised into Christ. Grace, although it is flowing abundance (Rom.5:20) yet many are behaving as if their lamps are running dry. I once was attending to a young man on his deathbed. He insisted the road ahead of him was in total darkness. He was horrified by what he described as previews of his afterlife. He pleaded for light from everyone who approached his dying bed. Sorry, there was no one to help him. His fears abated after receiving the last rights.

In this parable, Jesus reminds us, on Judgment Day, the foolish virgins must not expect to rekindle the flame of the Holy Spirit from the resourcefulness of the wise virgins. Paul, for his part, encourages us, while there is still time, fan into a flame the gifts bestowed upon us when we received the Holy Spirit (2Tim.1:6). What about us who are living today? How do we evaluate our call to holiness? Are we amassing any reserved fuel for the day of the Lord?

O God, your grace is sufficient for me.

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