Today is Holy Tuesday, the day when we commemorate the parable of the ten virgins. In the days leading up to his crucifixion, our Lord Jesus Christ imparted his last messages to his disciples, including this powerful parable:
"1 Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten young women took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those young women got up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. 11 Later the other young women came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ 13 Keep awake, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour" (Matthew 25:1-13).
The main exhortation of the parable of the ten virgins, as well as the Holy Week, is to "stay awake and be prepared." Spiritual awakening and preparation should be the foundation of a Christian's entire journey of faith. Our Lord Jesus urges us not only to have enough oil for our lamps but to have an abundance of oil in reserve.
Interestingly, the words "oil" and "mercy" have the same root in ancient Greek. According to the Armenian theologian Arakel Baghisetsi (15th century), the foolish virgins "did not show love and mercy. The light of their spiritual lamps went out, and they did not see the immortal Bridegroom. But the wise virgins, who brought oil as a symbol of love and mercy, opened the doors of the wedding banquet and entered, seeing the ineffable King.”
To enter the Kingdom of Heaven and share in the infinite joy of the Bridegroom, we must stay awake and prepare ourselves with works of mercy, love, and charity. We must also spread the light and healing of Christ to those around us.
Let us love our neighbors, do good, and spread love wherever we go, so that when we hear the voice saying, "Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him,” we will be ready to meet our Lord Jesus Christ and enter with him into eternal Kingdom.