While meditating on the parable of the Ten maidens, some questions kept coming: Why did the five wise maidens refuse to help their colleagues (the five foolish ones) with little oil for their lamps since they had extra? Is it not against the virtue of charity to help those in need? The reality of life shows us that not all are "wise" to make good use of time and opportunities for their advantage, hence some are fortunate others are not, some are rich while others are poor. Hence all is called by the christian virtue of charity to assist the least advantaged. But why is the contrary the case in this parable? Why was the wise maidens justified by not being charitable to the foolish ones? If you're bothered like me read slowly to know what the Lord says...

Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.” At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves...
1. The maidens are you and I. The lamp, oil and light that enables the maidens to see are the three theological virtues of Hope, Love and Faith respectively. The lamp itself is the virtue of hope which holds the oil (Love/charity) since you cannot separate these virtues, one flows into the other because Christian love or charity is influenced by hope and it is these virtues that keep faith alive, burning like flames on the lamp. When oil is lacking in the lamp, the light cannot be sustained. No wonder the bible says faith without good works (Charity/love) is dead (James 2:20). And among these virtues, the greatest is Love (1Cor. 13:13), and is the criteria by which we shall be judged by God.
2. Yes time shall come when "not doing charity" won't be counted against anyone, and that time is the END TIME known as the parousia- the second coming of Jesus Christ. Yes at that time- the coming of the bridegroom- it will not be counted as sin not to assist any one with "oil" because the time for reckoning has come and the Time for repentance and grace has passed just as it passed for Satan and his angels (demons) who rebelled against God (Rev. 12:12). Like examination, any act of unpreparedness will be accounted for and no help shall be given during exams. 
Therefore, if you find yourself reading or hearing this message, you still have the opportunity to amend your ways and be at right with God. For time shall come when you shall long for this message and will not get it. You shall plead for it, and the reply you shall get shall resemble the reply of father Abraham to the rich man in the gospel who pleaded from hades to have a drop of water from the finger of Lazarus:
Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us (Lk 16:25).
3. Be wise now, store up "oil" now that you have the time! Make hay while sun shines. Do not fall into self-deceit thinking faith alone will save you! Don't be carried away by the great or mighty miracles or things you do in the name of God while living uncharitable life, always in disharmony with others, or staying insensitive to the needs of the poor and less privileged around you! 
Remember always that the memory we live behind after death are the good works we have done and the positive impacts we made in the lives of others. Only these acts of charity will speak for you at the judgement. For you shall be asked: when I was hungry, thirsty, naked or homeless did you give me to eat, give me drink, clothe me or shelter me? (Matt. 25:35-40).
TASK: In a special way God invites you to embrace true wisdom as you journey towards Him. For wisdom guides, anticipates things to come, is bright and never grows dim! (Wis. 6:12-13). Wisdom today says: repent, change your ways, be charitable! Pray now: Psalm 63

© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ

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