Advent: Day 19

Daily Office Lections: Zechariah 4:1-14; Revelation 4:9 -- 5:5; Matthew 25:1-13

The Parable of the Ten Virgins teaches the Church (the bride) that she needs to be ready for the arrival of the Lord (the bridegroom) even if it's, from a human perspective, delayed.

And this parable applies not only to us who await his Second Coming, but to those who were experiencing the First Coming. In other words, this parable is, in part, an indictment of Israel which was not ready for Yahweh's return to Zion (Think of the tragic words of the prologue of the Gospel of John -- "He came to his own and his own did not receive him.") It's also, for those first hearers and readers, as well as for us, an urgent call to repentance.

And, take heart, God's goal is not retribution but redemption and restoration. And, again, Christ preaches the warnings of judgment so that we might avoid it. His speaking the truth to us about the broad road which leads to destruction is an act of great love. He wants us to repent which is why his coming is delayed.

This is precisely what the Apostle Peter teaches in his second epistle: "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:8-9, ESV).

So let us fill our lamps with oil, that is, living as though who resemble and honor Christ so that we may greet the Bridegroom with joy when he returns.

Fr. Matt+