It is undeniable that the Parable of the Ten Virgins is about being prepared for when the bridegroom comes. That message is so relevant to us today, not only because we are fast approaching the Season of Advent, during which we await the coming of the baby Jesus at Christmas, but also because we know not the day nor the hour, either when we will either be called from this life and come face to face with Christ as our judge, or when Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
In the parable, five of the ten virgins were foolish because they did not bring extra oil with them. The bridegroom was delayed, so their lamps burned out. When they left to buy some oil, the bridegroom came, entered the wedding feast with the five wise virgins and the door was locked. When the foolish virgins came back, they were denied entry into the wedding feast.
In the parable, the bridegroom represents Jesus and the wedding feast represents the Kingdom of heaven. The foolish virgins represent those who were not prepared to meet Jesus when He comes again. The parable presents a dilemma: are we prepared to meet Jesus when He comes again?
St. Paul exhorts us to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).” Here are some things to think about: Do we go through life thinking that there is no need to repent of ours sins because sin no longer matters to God and that everyone will be admitted to heaven? Do we make excuses to commit sin without even making any effort for inner conversion?
With regards to the question of whether one is saved by grace alone without any human effort, Calvinism puts 100% on grace and 0% on human effort; on the opposite end is Pelagianism which puts 0% on grace and 100% on human effort. The Catholic position explains human salvation in terms of God’s operation and human cooperation; therefore, in simple terms, it is 100% grace and 100% human effort.
We walk the perilous path of the spiritual life when we talk about grace while ignoring divine justice, or when we claim that we have faith without doing good works, or when we say that we are saved but continue to live in sin. Those are ways of how not to be prepared for Jesus when He comes again. The five foolish virgins thought that they could be admitted to the wedding feast on their own terms, but they were terribly shocked by the outcome – not only were they not admitted to the wedding feast, the bridegroom also denied knowing them.
The Advent and Christmas Mass Schedule has been published in our church website. There will be Holy Mass in Chinese at 11:30am on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, Thursday. Bread will be blessed and distributed after Mass.
December 8, 2020 (Tuesday) is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Holy Mass in Chinese will be at 12:00pm.
The Christmas Midnight Mass will be on Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 11:30pm. The Mass on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020 (Friday) will be at 10:00am. Both Masses will be celebrated in Chinese. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will not be a Christmas Party in our church this year.