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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

01 September 2023

Mt 25:1-13 ...The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. ...

Mt 25:1-13


Jesus told his disciples this parable: "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, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise ones replied, 'No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves. ' While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, 'Lord, Lord, open the door for us!'  But he said in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.' Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."


If we were to ask what true wisdom is, many would probably say that it is knowledge of this or that, education, something that is known. They would confuse wisdom with intelligence, which are two different things. You don't have to be very intelligent to be wise. Wisdom is something more, it is the ability to draw conclusions from one's own choices, both good and bad, it is looking widely at life, at people, at faith, it is the ability to anticipate and confront difficult life events so that they do not destroy us, do not kill the spirit in us, they did not take away our faith. Wisdom, as the readings proclaim today, is prudence. And what is prudence? The simplest definition says that it is a moral virtue that is expressed in the ability to choose the right means to achieve the goal. It is the principle of perfecting human conduct. A prudent person uses reason, which should provide elements of judgment. He can also consult others. St. Thomas Aquinas distinguishes 8 components of prudence, they are: memory - that is, drawing conclusions from the past, history is a teacher of life, also the history of my life; a healthy view of reality - sometimes we see what we would like to see, or because of fear or shame we do not see what we do not want to see; openness to the teachings of others - the point is to "let yourself be told", wisely use the advice of others; defaultness - it is the ability to see the causes of various events and their connections, common sense - logical thinking and practical reasoning are necessary; anticipation - this is sometimes the hardest thing, it's about imagining the effects of actions taken, including those reaching far into the future, even into eternity. The proverb says: "Whatever you do, do with discretion and see the end"; prudence - this is a certain flexibility, taking into account the unpredictability of events, thriftiness - this is a form of caution, that is, taking into account possible difficulties. Looking at the virgins from today's Gospel, comparing them with the above-mentioned features, we see perfectly well what it means to be a prudent person. Jesus deliberately used the comparison of the wise and stupid virgins to make us realize that in our life of faith, in our relationship with God, we must not leave everything to the last minute, that one day we will all stand before God, everyone will be called to an eternity that they may miss if we are not prepared. This is happening now, today, in these specific conditions and events of my life that I have to confront and live them in such a way that they do not distance me from God, do not extinguish my faith, do not exhaust my hope, do not suffocate my love. Already today I have to buy oil, God's grace, which I can buy here, in church, at the Eucharist, in the confessional during confession, on my knees when I pray. And so every day, until the end, until the last moment of my life, which will come I don't know when, to keep this divine light in me, so that Christ will see it and let me enter his home. I cannot live meaninglessly, putting off what is important, my salvation, for later, thinking that I still have time, that I will live, that God is not in a hurry for me, not listening to others who tell me to do something about my life, that I have to reconcile with God, begin to pray and go to church. I notice a certain paradox in the world today, which consists in the fact that people treat earthly, and material matters very seriously, they are default in investments, they plan their moves and decisions in advance, they ask advisers, psychologists, they are preventive by saving money, investing it on accounts, so that God forbid they don't get lost somewhere. The same people, when it comes to faith and their own salvation, disregard prayer, the Holy Mass, the sacraments, they underestimate eternity, focusing on the temporal and thinking that there is still time. Many wake up too late and miss God. Is eternity an abstraction for us, or do we fully believe that one day we will meet God? With God, who will not negotiate with us, will not be merciful to our laziness in life. Just as I anticipate my earthly life, I should also anticipate and plan my eternity, not just planning but actually doing something in that direction. The virgins were to have only lamps and a little oil with them, enough to enter the wedding feast. It is enough to have faith and constantly maintain this faith through a good life and specific actions resulting from love for God and neighbor. How much of this oil have you collected? Is it enough for you if God calls you today or tomorrow? If not, then wake up and do your best to get as much of it as possible before it's too late for you.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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