[Jesus said:] “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
I occasionally drive my wife's car, and on more than one occasion, I noticed the gauge for the gas tank indicated that it was close to empty. I told her that if she weren't careful, she would get stuck without gas one day, and sure enough, she did. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan came along and bailed her out. I know a LOT of people get stuck by the side of the road because they have run out of GAS, which is weird given that there are very accurate gauges and even warning lights that come on when you are low on gas.
Now, people passing by or Road Side Assistance may help us if we are stuck by the side of the road without gas, but the best-intentioned folks will not be able to do anything for us when Judgment Day arrives. When will that be? As Jesus says in today's gospel, we won't know the "day or hour" when this will happen; it will come "like a thief in the night" (see Matthew 24:42-50). But there will be signs of this day coming, and these signs are all around us. Read Matthew 24 to know the warning light has come on.
So, do we have gas in our spiritual tanks? Or—to put it in Jesus' language—oil in our lamps? Here's a quick checklist. One: Have we been leading a life that reflects one who has been born again, allowing ourselves to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit in all we do? Or do we persist in living in the flesh, giving in to our desires without a second thought of the consequences, believing our faith in Christ gives us a free ticket into heaven?
Two: Do we show, by our actions, that our faith does not merely comprise belief in Jesus as Savior, but also the belief that everything he says is true? Or do we believe that we can pick and choose what we want to follow and discard the rest? And three: Are the good works we do for God's glory or to gain our fellowmen's acclaim?
These are serious questions that need to be answered, especially by those who have known him for a long time and are in service to him because our entry to the kingdom of heaven depends on it. Let's make sure we are all tanked up so we can get to the feast and party!
May the Spirit be with you.