Within and Without My Control
In life, certain things happen to everybody, regardless of one's ability, status, wealth.... There are things that nobody has control over. In the case of the ten virgins in today's parable, when the bridegroom was delayed, "they all became drowsy and fell asleep." They had no control over the bridegroom's delay. And there is the sense that as the wait dragged on, they could not help it but becoming drowsy and falling asleep.
Then there are things that are within our control.
Jesus' original audience knew that the kind of delay in the parable could happen in their society's marriage tradition. Negotiations between the two families on the terms of the marriage could drag on . There was also the long ritual exchange of gifts . The wise virgins knew this, and they brought extra oil. The foolish ones did not.
Besides, with the bridegroom's delay, the foolish ones had the chance to go and buy some oil. They did not take that chance.
Life presents certain blessings and challenges that are beyond human control. Then, there are things that rational human beings could take charge of.
Then, there is the gift of God's Kingdom. It is a gift from God that none of us deserves. Yet, there are things we could do to become more worthy of that gift. How do I respond to that great gift from God?
Besides, we are called to advance the Kingdom. How do I live my vocation of a builder of God's Reign?
. Daniel J. Harrington, SJ. The Gospel of Matthew. Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN.: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 348.
. Francis J. Moloney, S.D.B., The Gospel of the Lord: Reflections of the Gospel Readings - Year A. Homebush, Australia: St. Paul Publications, 1992; p. 192.