In the Gospel today, Jesus contrasts the foolish virgins from the wise virgins. What made these two groups different? The ten virgins were bridesmaids responsible to meet the bridegroom. Each of them took one lamp. Each of them went to meet the bridegroom. Each of them waited. Each of them want to enter the banquet. The difference is the wise ones brought flasks of oil for their lamps while the foolish did not. All of them have the same purpose, they have the same tools, they have the same desire. The wise were prepared for any delay, while the foolish were not. What can we learn from this?
Jesus said the parable describes the kingdom of heaven. Entry to the banquet is a life of union with God. Every human being has the same purpose in life: to glorify God. We have all we need to fulfill that and everyone has that desire to live in union with God. But what determines entry to the banquet? As we see, not the purpose, nor possession, nor desire. Jesus ends his parable by saying this: keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. We enter into the life with God when we prepare for it.
Preparing for this life with God requires an intense desire for God. The Psalm expresses this: My soul thirsts for you, O Lord my God. It says I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry weary land where these is no water. We pursue God passionately, we seek him and we realize we cannot live without him. The First Reading personifies Wisdom as a woman and says we will find wisdom when we seek her. She makes herself known to those who desire her. When we seek Wisdom, God will give this gift to us. St Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:24 to them that are called, both the Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is the power of God and his name is Jesus. Which is why we need the wisdom of God to know God himself. While human wisdom can know God, it can only go so far, because God is beyond our intellectual capacity. There are two Greek words that are translated as know in English. One is knowing by seeing, which is intellectual knowledge or understanding. The other is fully knowing by experiencing, or encountering, like the knowledge of a husband of his wife.
Our relationship with God is one of full knowledge through experience of him and not one of understanding from observation, because love goes beyond understanding a person to full knowledge of a person. Ask anyone who is married if they understand their spouse, and they will tell you very often, they don’t understand them. But they know their spouse. Similarly, wisdom is needed to go beyond intellectual knowledge of God to full knowledge of God.
How do we get to full knowledge of God? By spending time with him, in personal prayer, in Scripture, and in adoration of the Eucharist, in the reception of Jesus in Holy Communion, in confession. Just as a man gets to know his wife by spending time with her and allowing her into his life, we will fully know Jesus by spending time with him and allowing him into our life.
When we have full knowledge of God, we can look forward to the day which St Paul describes in the Second Reading, when Christ will come with voice of the Archangel and the sound of the trumpet, and the dead in Christ will rise first, and then we will be caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air, to be with him forever. This happens only when we prepare ourselves for his coming so that when he comes, we will greet him and say Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.