Vigilance is a profit center. Oh, not in the financial sense of course, but in the beneficial list of behaviors. Note how vigilance has been the common message of various authorities during this pandemic.
If a person lets down his/her guard, or lacks vigilance, the virus quickly steps in to increase its victim tally. One side effect is that we have citizens ready and eager to be reporters of any violators of the ever-changing mandates.
I must note a certain discrepancy in the way such promulgations are made, because churches have more stringent rules applied to them than casinos and “Big Box stores.” Is this proof that “the smoke of secular- ism” has wended its way into legislative chambers?
Be that as it may, there is no doubt or confusion about where Jesus stands on the matter of staying vigi- lant. He knows what happens to us with the passage of time and how we tend to be nonchalant about our lives and the things that really matter.
This weekend’s parable may mystify us a bit as we note the strange marriage ritual in the background. Be at ease: the same thing teases good biblical scholars. But knowing that the ten virgins represent us as disci- ples is all we really have to know to understand Jesus’ point.
Living as we do in a culture that prefers to sideline God and all things supernatural, it is quite difficult for us to be vigilant. Take God out of the picture and why be concerned about an ultimate account of our
lives? The judge’s bench is empty. That being so, we have permission to ask: “Who cares how I behave? As long as I’m not harming anyone, I can decide what’s right for me and what’s not.” Of course that kind of thinking has its built in dangers. Inconsistency is one of them.
Delusion is another. Soon the fabric of society starts to fray. The world turns upside down, just as it would if we were ever to foolishly imple- ment a policy to defund our police.
In the debate that ensues here we have to admit that both sides cannot be right. St. Paul tells us today who and what we can really trust. In so doing, he reflects the wisdom that describes herself in the First Reading.
Meanwhile we have to admit that secular history offers multiple examples of who not to trust. Since I began with reference to profit centers, here is an apt closing on the matter of trust from the business world. Once a leading economic expert, Professor Irving Fisher of Yale had this to say about the bright future of the stock market and the American economy: “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” His statement was spoken in early October 1929, just a couple of weeks before the stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression.
God love you and give you His peace!
Reading I: Wisdom 6: 12-16
Here we find an exhortation by the author to seek Lady Wisdom. “She” is easily accessible and also “hastens to make herself known.”
Reading II: I Thessalonians 4: 13-18, or 4: 13-14
Paul uses an early Christian creed to reassure his readers who wonder about the fate of their dead. This creed is the foundation of his own hope in the coming apocalypse.
The Gospel: Matthew 25: 1-13
Thematrimonyceremonialheredescribedismysteriouseventobiblicalscholars. Forsure,thetenvirginsrepresentthedisci- ples as expectant believers. The delay of the groom’s coming brings the danger of love growing cold. Jesus’ point is to keep vigilant.