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Thursday, August 27, 2020

Reflection 2020-08-28 Friday 21st Week in Ordinary Time – St Augustine

1 Corinthians 1:17-25; Psalm 33; Matthew 25:1-13
St Augustine said in his Confessions: you have made us and drawn us to yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. I will not unpack what he said before this, but just concentrate on this because it lines up with the readings for today. Augustine was a man of the world before his conversion. He wrote Lord, make me pure, but not yet. Even when he got to know the Lord, he was not willing to give up what he wanted. But when he came to realize his soul will only rest in God, he gave up everything to follow God. While this may seem foolishness to people who do not believe, this also shows the power of God to change the hearts of people, from a man of the world, to a saint of God.
St Paul stresses in the First Reading that the cross of Christ is foolishness to those who perish but for those who believe, it is the power of God. In today’s society, we have people who want death on demand, yet, are afraid of death. We have people who want freedom to make a choice, yet would not allow people to disagree with them. Who want to do what they want to do, without realizing they are not in control. These are people who do things the way they want thinking that they can get life by being autonomous of God. Yet, as St Augustine tells us, our soul is restless until it rests in God.
We will never find peace or security or life until we come to God and rest in him, meaning, let him rule our lives.
The parable in the Gospel speaks of ten virgins, five of them wise and five were foolish. The foolish did not bring enough oil to keep their lamps burning. But this is only a symptom of why they are foolish. We see their foolishness in how they reacted when they realize they did not have enough oil.
  1. They asked the other five to give them oil.
  2. They ran out to town to buy oil. Considering this was in the middle of the night, they had to wake people up to buy oil.
  3. When they had oil, they demanded the bridegroom to open the door for them.
Do you see the pattern of selfishness? Everything is about them. They expect the other virgins to give them oil. They inconvenience others so they can get oil. When they came back, they wanted to enter the banquet and demand that they be let in. This is the cause of their foolishness: their selfishness. They were so absorbed about themselves that they did things their own way, without thinking of others. This is why Jesus tells us: keep awake for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The five wise virgins did what was expected. They obeyed the rules of the ceremony. The five foolish virgins did what they wanted and ended up not entering the banquet. They even called the bridegroom as Lord, twice, even as they demand their Lord to do what they want.
The foolish virgins thought they dictate the rules of life, that people, even their Lord will obey them. Our salvation does not depend on what I think. It does not depend on what I believe, because I cannot save myself. God is our Savior and salvation depends on what he says. I will be foolish to think that God will play by my rules. If this is what I think then I am in for a big surprise.
Lord Jesus, my heart is restless until I rest in you. Let me find you, let me obey you. Let me trust you so I can surrender my life to you. You know my faults. You know how selfish I am, yet Lord, you patiently take what I surrender. Take what I have Lord and do to me as you will. St Augustine, pray that I may learn to give my life to God.

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