Friends, our Gospel today is the parable that compares the kingdom of heaven with “ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” This is an image borrowed from the customs of the time. The bridesmaids would wait for the groom and, upon his appearance, accompany him.
Well, this is the Christian community, waiting for Christ the groom to arrive. Did Jesus tell this parable because he knew that his Church would be in for a long period of waiting?
We are wise in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love. We are foolish in our waiting if we neglect these things.
And here is one of the hardest truths of this parable: the divine life, so cultivated, cannot simply be shared with another at the last minute. The wise virgins are not being difficult and self-absorbed when they tell their friends that they can’t help them. A saint can’t simply infuse his life into another; it just doesn’t work that way.