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Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, his teachings were not meant only for His immediate audience; they remain true for all ages. In the gospel of this 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Times, Year A (Matthew 25:1-13), Christ presents a parable that illustrates how people succeed or fail in the face of similar conditions and circumstances; how what we do in managing opportunities in life impacts upon success and failure; how readiness helps us tap into opportunities successfully baring obstacles, conditions, and unpredictable situations that may show up.

The first thing to notice in this parable is that it begins by categorizing the virgins into two groups—those who are wise and those who are foolish. This categorization is not about the good and the bad, nor is it about sinners and saints. Instead, it is about different characters and dispositions—the wise and the foolish, bearing in mind that character is the sum of our everyday choices. So, this story is about how our choices impact how we end up in life. My friends, destiny is mostly not a matter of chance but a matter of choices.

As human beings, we spend a lot of time planning our lives. We decide what kind of career to pursue, how to build a stable future, and even what life will be like for us ten or twenty years down the road. Yet, our lives often take twists and turns that we don’t anticipate, and the ones who beat these odds become winners. Successful people did not become successful because they did not have unexpected challenges to overcome. They became successful because they were equipped in ways that enabled them to meet and overcome challenges on the way. They were prepared for exigencies.

So, we always need to mindful that we do not know what tomorrow will bring because we do not control all the exigencies that may come upon our efforts. As you may have noticed, the first thing that went wrong with the foolish virgins was that they brought enough oil to last them through the time they believed the bridegroom would show up. But the bridegroom tarried, and they ran out of oil. But the wise virgins brought enough oil just in case the bridegroom showed up late, which, by the way, they were accustomed to doing in those days, and he did.

Life is not about our time; it is about God’s time. While God may seem late on our time, He is never late on due time. For God, time is, and we do not know the hour or the day. This means that we live on borrowed time and, therefore, cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions before we execute things in our lives. We cannot afford to be shortsighted and plan only for immediate needs, nor can we afford to be so long-sighted as to forget that tomorrow is not a promise. Our vision and horizon in life need to be wider than our self-centeredness, for the one whose focus is on today may never be prepared when tomorrow shows up, and the one whose focus is on tomorrow may never live to see it. Life is about balancing timing against available resources because opportunities can easily be wasted while waiting for perfect conditions. We always need to be prepared just in case. Those who are ready are most disposed to take advantage of emergent opportunities. May God grant us the grace of readiness and preparedness!

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