HOME CHAT NAB PRAYERS FORUMS COMMUNITY RCIA MAGAZINE CATECHISM LINKS CONTACT
 CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC SAINTS INDEX  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 CATHOLIC DICTIONARY  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Home
 
Bible
 
Catechism
 
Chat
 
Catholic Encyclopedia
 
Church Fathers
 
Classics Library
 
Church Documents
 
Discussion
 
Mysticism
 
Prayer
 
Prayer Requests
 
RCIA
 
Vocations
 
Ray of Hope
 
Saints
 
Social Doctrine
 
Links
 
Contact
 







A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Mat. 25:1–13]

JESUS warns His followers not to seek the things of this world with too much anxiety, and to make a provision of good works, while they yet have time; for that death will come like a thief in the night when least expected. To make them better understand this great truth, He gave them the following parable: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who, taking their lamps, went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five were wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: ‘Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye forth to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: ‘Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.’ The wise answered, saying: ‘Lest there be not enough for us and for you, go you, rather, to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.’

“Now, while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he, answering, said: ‘Amen, I say to you, I know you not.’ Watch ye, therefore, because ye know not the day nor the hour.”

The necessity of good works. The ten virgins represent the faithful in general. The bridegroom is our Lord: the marriage-feast is everlasting happiness: the arrival of the bridegroom signifies the judgment, both the particular judgment after death, and the general judgment at the end of time. It is the duty of all the faithful to be ever expecting the arrival of the Divine Bridegroom, who will come to take his own servants to the heavenly banquet. We must be ready to go with him at any time or moment. The wise virgins are those Christians who stand ready, holding not only the lamp of faith, but also the oil of good works in their hands. The foolish virgins are those bad Christians who have indeed the lamp of faith, but to whom is lacking the oil of active love, and whose faith is therefore dead. They pass their lives carelessly, taking no thought of that eternally decisive moment which is before us all. At midnight, when none of the virgins were expecting him, the bridegroom came! In other words, death took them unawares. Wise or good Christians, even though death may take them by surprise, are always ready to meet the Lord, and enter into eternity; for they have not only kept the faith, but also gained merit. Foolish, careless Christians do not live in accordance with their faith, but put off their conversion till the hour of death. Death comes on them unawares, and then they find out with terror that their faith is dead, and that there is lacking to them the oil of good works. The merits of their fellow-Christians can avail them nothing, and they have no time to gain merits of their own by the performance of good works. For them, indeed, the night has come “when no man can work”! (John 9:4.) They may wail and cry out “Lord! Lord!” but they will find themselves shut out from heaven, for our Lord Jesus has said: “Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 7:21).

Watchfulness. Our Lord Himself points the moral of this parable by His concluding words: “Watch you, therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour (of your death).” We ought to live on the watch, and be always ready for the coming of our Divine Judge, because 1. we know not when we shall be called away; 2. the hour of death is, as a rule, too late for conversion and the gaining of merit; and it is therefore a mischievous act of carelessness to put off conversion till the hour of death.

Prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues. The wise or prudent virgins desired to be admitted to the heavenly marriage-feast; therefore they took pains to become worthy of admission by virtues and good works. They avoided sin, and persevered in grace and in the practice of the love of God, and were therefore found ready when death surprised them. The foolish virgins also wished to take part in the banquet, but they did not use those means by which alone they could gain admission. The virtuous are prudent, but sinners are fools!

Dead faith. Even as a lamp goes out when it is not fed with oil, so does faith die, if it is not nourished and sustained by works of piety, mortification and brotherly love.

Humility. It was not from selfishness that the wise virgins refused to share their oil with those who were foolish. Humility made them act thus, because they feared that they would not have enough for themselves. The just do not rely on their good works, but “work out their salvation with fear and trembling”. However much good they have done, they confess that they are unprofitable servants, and that their only ground for hope lies in the mercy of God.

APPLICATION. Picture to yourself the consternation and despair of those who are shut out for ever from the happiness of heaven. “We fools!” they will say, “for we might have been saved! We had so many means of grace, so many opportunities of doing good. But we wasted them, and are now, by our own fault, lost for ever!” Do you wish to be one of these unhappy ones? No! Then begin at once, while you are young, to be zealous in the service of God.








Copyright ©1999-2018 e-Catholic2000.com