Being Foolish and Being Wise

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe, Week XXXII-A, 12 November 2017
Wisdom 6:12-16//1Thessalonians 4:13-18//Matthew 25:1-13

We are now on the last three weeks of the liturgical year that ends on the 26th of the month, the Solemnity of Christ the King. For these last Sundays of the year, we shall hear the long discourses by Jesus on His Second Coming at the end of time. It is the topic chosen during the last three weeks of the liturgical calendar every year to remind us of this basic truth of our faith. When we pray the Apostles’ Creed, we profess that “I believe in Jesus Christ… who will come again to judge the living and the dead.” It is the same truth we also profess in every Mass when we proclaim the mystery of our faith after the consecration of the bread and wine into Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!”

Also known as the “parousia”, the Second Coming of Christ is the direction towards all creation leads and, ends. St. Paul exerted efforts in explaining this to the early Christians at the beginning of the Church like the Thessalonians found today in the second reading. According to St. Paul, the Second Coming of Christ is the one thing we must always be concerned daily by living as authentic Christians. He tells us to be simply good for nobody knows when Christ would come again. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself makes the perfect illustration of preparing for His return with the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were foolish because they brought no extra oil while the other five were wise who came with additional flasks of oil. The ten virgins became drowsy and fell asleep while waiting for the coming of the bridegroom who finally arrived at midnight.

“Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you neither know the day nor the hour.”(Mt.25:7-13)

Three things I wish to share with you today on being “wise” or good while waiting for the Lord’s coming.

First, being wise is being “reasonable.” In this age of fake news and misplaced nationalism, it has become so common among many peoples to be carried away by emotions, totally disregarding facts and reason. What an irony – even tragedy – in an age when the world had shrunk into a global village with satellites linking us with anyone anywhere at any time, the more we have actually grown apart from each other! How foolish have we become that until now we could not accept one another simply because of different color and creeds, killing in the name of God and other beliefs. Five decades ago, the eminent Dr. Norman Vincent Peale noted we have so many guided missiles and more misguided children. See how all kinds of misguided people we now have, from religious fanatics and freaks to elected officials who all believe that death is the best solution to the many problems in the society. Worst of all, many seem to accept their kind of “thinking”, seeing demagoguery as statesmanship and “low-life” as the mark of intelligence.

Being reasonable is to search and follow and stand by what is true. And the ultimate truth is God who comes to those who truly seek what is true as the author of the Book of Wisdom had asserted: God is Wisdom who is like a lovely woman sought by everyone. When we search for the truth, when we try to be reasonable, it is God whom we eventually discover. The more we become wise and reasonable in knowing the truth, the more we become holier according to St. Thomas Aquinas: being wise and reasonable is doing what is right and what is good.

Second, being wise is being orderly in our way of living. Where there is reason, there is always order. Chaos and disorder, confusions and mess happen when we disregard reason and we get carried away with our emotions and whims that bloat our ego with pride. That is when our lives create a trail of many mistakes and sins that cause pains and hurts in us and our loved ones until everything is in total disarray and so disordered. The most reasonable thing to do in such foolishness is to stop it so that there could be order in our life.

Third, when we are reasonable and orderly, we are able to have a vision of the future. We all have the gift of sight of seeing many things around us; but, vision is different because it is the ability to see beyond time and physical realities. Vision is the ability to project and work on the future now. This is why visionaries are geniuses because they are men and women of reason and order who were able to look into the future and make it happen. When we have vision, we can foresee what is coming ahead and prepare to do something about it like the five wise virgins. They have foreseen the possible delay of the coming of the bridegroom that they were able to prepare by bringing extra flasks of oil for their lamps. The five foolish virgins never saw those things happening for they were just seeing the present moment, oblivious of the possible delay of the bridegroom and totally blind of the little oil they had in their lamps.

To see our final destiny in God is the ultimate vision we must strive for because that is absolutely being wise like Him. Let us always strive in being good persons because deep in our hearts, we could feel that eternity is the definite direction of our lives here on earth. And before that comes, there would be the final day of judgment on whether we have been wise or foolish while here on earth to be able to enter the eternal marriage feast in the kingdom of God in heaven. May your long weekend be blessed with reason, order and vision!

Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II,
Parokya ni San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista,
Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan3022.