Every day I pass a church I visit so that the day they carry me in, the Lord won’t say who it is. I think the five saddest words in the gospel are today. If Jesus were to say to us when we come to Him in the resurrection. I do not know you. How sad would that be? I do not know you. We hear this, this passage, as we come to the end of this liturgical season, and more of the end of times will be discussed. This idea of the five virgins. The five who had the oil and five who did not have the oil. So, I’d like to talk about what that means. What is the oil? Well, the oil is really a relationship with Jesus. The oil is this love that we have stored in our hearts all throughout our lives. And the lack of oil is the lack of relationship with Jesus. As we hear this passage, we must remember that this isn’t a normal wedding feast. This is a parable, and Jesus is using this parable to talk to us about the wedding feast of Heaven, the Kingdom of Heaven, and what will happen at the end of the day. What will happen at the Second Coming?
And so, what do we make of these five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins? Well, the five wise had oil, and the others didn’t. As we get to the end of this parable, we might wonder why they couldn’t share the oil with them. They had oil, right? Why couldn’t they share it with them? Well, when Jesus is talking about this parable and this image of oil, He’s talking about this known love relationship with him. If we know and love him, we are filled with the oil. We’re not filled with oil if we don’t know or love him. And this is the one thing that we can’t share with other people. We can’t make other people have this relationship with God. People have to want and desire it and open themselves up to it.
How do we make sure that we have the oil? How do we make sure that at the end of our life, Jesus will say, ‘I do know you?’ Well, the primary way is, of course, here at the Eucharist. This is the source and summit of our life. This is the most preeminent way that we come to know Jesus. And the reason is that he comes to us on the altar with his body, blood, soul, and divinity. We hear him during the readings; we experience him here in the body of Christ. We see him through the priesthood and receive him in our Lord’s body and blood. So, when we receive Jesus, His body, and His precious blood, we receive that oil. We are receiving that oil that is stored in our lives. So, the first way would be to ensure we know Jesus. One is that we come and receive them in the Eucharist.
I think the second way is through daily prayer. That is all throughout our day, especially when we spend a holy hour or a little moment with him. And we truly share our hearts with him. We hear his voice speaking to us. We get to know him daily, so when we get to the end of the world at the end of times, he will say, ‘I know you.’ I think the 3rd way is through the Sacrament of Confession. When we go to confession and share our deepest, darkest sins, we share the things that we may be most ashamed of or the things that we’re struggling with most. Even that, he will know that part of us and say, I know you. So I think it’s just good that we know that we come together every Sunday to receive the Eucharist, that we pray faithfully every day, and that we experience His love and mercy in the Sacrament of Confession.
This is one of those homilies preaching to the choir because you’re all here experiencing him in the mass today. You have the oil. Because he knows you. But what do we do about those unwise virgins? What do we do about the people that are not hearing? I think it’s important that we don’t let them wait till the end of their life for them to say I want Him finally. I want to experience Him, and I want what you have. Many of you probably struggle with children and grandchildren who are not attending church. And I guess my challenge and encouragement would be not to give up on that. Do not give up on them. Many people will say to me, but Father, if I say anything, I will only push them away further. If you don’t say anything to them, who’s going to? And I would suggest that whatever you do, if you’ve done it before, try something different. You can help share the Lord with them in a million different ways. Try something new. Try something different. If you’ve done it before, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Try another way to invite them. You could do that gently and lovingly. You can invite him to things that we have here at the church, invite them to a talk, and invite him to something we do with service. But don’t give up on them. And don’t wait until the last day because you don’t know when you’ll have it.
I was thinking about this gospel today, the end of times and our lives. And I ask you this question to ponder. Would you want to know? If you could know right now when your life would end, would you want to know? I go back and forth with that. In some ways, I don’t think I want to know. But in other ways, I think I do want to know. If we knew our life was going to end, I think of a cancer patient, where they’re given three months to live. Knowing that a great conversion will probably happen because they know her time is limited. But for each and every one of us, our time is limited. And we do not know the day or the hour when we will be called to the Lord. So let us do everything we can so that He will say, ‘I do know you’. And let us try to do everything we can for others so they do not hear the voice of, ‘I do not know you.’
Heaven and Hell. If we live our lives knowing Jesus, if we live our lives loving Jesus, when we get to that final moment of judgment, I think it will be, in some ways, our choice. Like, do you want to be with me for eternity? If we spent our whole life wanting to be with him, we’d probably want to be with him for eternity. And if we spent our whole life not wanting to be with him and get to that final day, we may not want to be with him for eternity.
So let us be like the wise virgins who do everything we can to keep this oil in our lives. As deep as we can and as much as we can. So that, by the end, we will find the Lord who will say, ‘I do know who you are.’ Every day I pass a church, I stop and visit so the day they carry me in, the Lord won’t say, who is it?