Friday of the 21st Week of the Year

Matt 25:1-13

The Parable of the Ten Virgins


A news item in the US relates about how burglars broke into a New York firm which manufacture burglar-proof glass windows. To get in, they smashed a big glass panel door and got away with some cash and valuables.

“It never occurred to us,” said the president of the firm, “to put our own burglar-proof glass in our own door.”

Foresight is beginning of true wisdom. Living wisely is looking ahead. Living wisely means having an eye on our ultimate end and preparing for it not at the last minute. The wise bridesmaids were always prepared; it was their custom, a life habit, a part of their life plan.

Christ tells us to be smart and prudent. He reminds us to make provisions for the “coming of the bridegroom.” “store up riches in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy nor thieves break in and steal,” ( matt 6:20). By ‘riches” Jesus means our good works, the faithful performance of our duties and obligations.

Let’s live in such a way that in our last moment we may not have cause to regret much like the foolish bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable. (Fr. Bel San Luis SVD Bible Diary 2002)


The day seemed to be a promising one. We were preparing to go to the beach. We all loaded our bags and boxes in the perspective vehicles. It didn’t take long and we were on the road. Three and half hours later by the beach, we discovered a terrible mistake; no one of us cared to look for the box containing our food and to bring it to the car. By God’s Providence one of us had money to buy food just enough to keep us from fainting as we swam in the sea.

“Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” The gospel today reminds us to be ready all the time to go out and meet our God in our daily relationships and activities. What does it mean to be ready? Does it mean for us to cunt, collect and carefully store up good deeds on which God can judge whether or not He can accept us to be with Him? No.

The Good News is that the oil of God’s unconditional love is there for us to accept, to be immersed in and to live from, as the lamp’s wick, immersed in oil, feeds from it in order to be light. Nor is God’s love for sale. He offers it to us and we are free to receive it, trust it and allow it to nourish us into loving service, already now in this life.

What can help me to be attentive to the daily invitations of God to live in His love?

Prayer: “Lord, you nourish us from day to day and wherever we go You surround us with Your loving presence more fully than we dare presume. We believe in it and live from You as we live from the food we eat as we hunger and thirst for your reign today and everyday. Amen.” (Sr. Ancille Elvina, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)


Fr. Camillo was a village priest in a small town of Italy after the war. His long time enemy was the town mayor named Pepone who was a Communist but a Catholic at heart. One day Fr. Camillo’s old and battered pick up truck ran out of gas and stopped right in front of the town hall. Pepone, sensing an opportunity to spite the priest, volunteered to push the the truck singlehandedly up to the church compound. Fr. Camillo agreed. The mayor took off his shirt and right in the midst of a cheering crowd showed off his muscles and with laborious puffing and huffing pushed the truck up to the church yard. When the truck pulled over in front of the church, Pepone told the priest that he had not warmed up yet. So he pushed the truck back to the front of the town hall. The mayor then put on his shirt and smiled at the priest as if daring him to do what he had just done. Fr. Camillo climbed up the driver’s seat, turned the small lever under the dashboard which indicated RESERVE, started the engine and took off.

Obviously the lesson of today’s parable about the ten bridesmaids is about bringing reserve oil in one’s journey. In our journey to our Father in heaven, the same care should be taken: bring plenty of reserve oil. This takes the form of good works, promoting justice, faithfulness to ones commitment, goodness and kindness. The more we discover our personal weakness and failure in obeying God’s will, the more reserve works we should pile up.

A mother was despairing about her grown-up son, because he did not go to Mass and Sacraments anymore. Upon looking at his son’s activities, however, it was found out how much of his time and money were being devoted to helping people. I am just afraid that when time comes, he will be the first to be admitted in heaven. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


When I walk to the campus ministry office in the morning, I don’t need to be a prophet to predict which days the students are having tests. One only has to observe if they have their noses in their notes, procrastination is a common fault, often having disastrous results. Some people want to enjoy life now, but promise to change later. Even St. Augustine admitted that he “wanted to be good but not yet.” Wasting time is wasting ourselves.

Jesus reminds us several times in the gospel to be always prepared, ready for both the end of the world and one’s own death.

William Barclay in his analysis of this parable reminds us of two important truths:

  1. Some things cannot be gotten instantaneously but take time. For instance, studying for exams or expressing thanks to those who helped us take time. In case of accident, there may not be enough time to receiving the last rites or even to make an act of contrition.
  2. Certain things cannot be borrowed. You cannot borrow from others a relationship with God. He may say: “I do not know you.” Having a pious mother or spouse, even a priest or nun in the family, is not enough. What we do or how we ourselves relate to God and to others is what counts.

Those who were prepared were wise, those unprepared were foolish. God’s way sometimes seen foolish to people in this world. St. Paul says: “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom.” It is always wise to be ready. (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


August 26, 2016 Friday

Some, if not most, seminarians are known for “cramming,” – often rationalized as say working better under pressure. I wonder how these “crammers” would take the message of today’s Gospel.  The parable of the Ten Virgins is one of the three parables that depict the tension hastened by the Second Coming of Jesus, the Last Judgment. At the end of the betrothal period, in Jewish custom, the bridegroom, with his friends, make a formal procession to the bride’s home. The bride, with her friends, also join the make procession back to the bridegroom’s home for the wedding feast. As an evening event, lamps are important here, guaranteeing not only participation in the procession but also sustaining the feast. The crisis came when five of the Ten Virgins failed to bring enough oil for their lamps. Cramming to have enough, they left the company to buy extra oil. Unfortunately, they failed to beat the bridegroom’s arrival and missed the procession. The doors were locked before them, and worst, they failed to join the feast.

The lesson is clear! Because Jesus’ return is unpredictable, it demands our constant vigilance.

Jesus calls for a habitual commitment to following Him. This parable invites us to reflect on our patterns of conduct. When Paul said, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (1Cor 17:25),” he might be referring to the death of Jesus on the cross as an unfathomable paradox of wisdom. It can also refer to the mysterious ways God reveals himself, which we often struggle to fathom. To discover God’s mysterious ways, Jesus’ proposal is for us not to cram but to be vigilant. (Fr. Samuel Agcaracar, SVD Rome, Italy Bible Diary 2016)


WISE AND VIGILANT – For those among you who think that the Church discriminates against women, please take a second look at the first reading. The first reading says that the incarnation of wisdom is a woman. Wisdom is a woman according to the first reading. What is wisdom? Wisdom is to know the difference between the things that can be changed and the things that cannot be changed. Wisdom is to know the difference between what is essential and what is accidental. Wisdom is to know the difference between what is important and what is trivial. Wisdom is to know the difference between what is permanent and what is fleeting. The First reading says, that people who have discovered wisdom will stop thirsting and pining for things because everything in life will have meaning. Wisdom is so rare and yet it is so important. In the first reading, we are told to value the things that are important and we are also told to take courage and let go of the unimportant things.

But we are people who have been foolish. We “absolutize” what is relative and ”relativize” what is absolute. That is foolishness. Wisdom is to know the difference between essentials and accidentals, to know the difference between the icing and the cake, to know the difference between substance and decoration. The decorations and the accidentals we can let go of, but not the essentials. We should not let go of the important things. We should hold on to matters of great value.

The gospel speaks of wisdom as the first W and the second W is Watchfulness. The ten virgins were supposed to be watchful, but only five were considered wise and sensible. What is to be watchful. To be watchful is more than timing. For some of us, we boast of being watchful because we are at the right place, at the right time, all the time. And for some people who are malas (unlucky), they are said to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the time. That is not watchfulness. That is only timing. Watchfulness is more than watching so that we will not get caught. Some of us reduce watchfulness and vigilance to that. Before we make an illegal left turn, we look to the left and to the right for the police. That is not watchfulness. That is being shrewd. To be watchful is to do good all the time whether somebody is watching or not. To be watchful is to do good all the time, whether or not we will be punished or rewarded. We do good because our nature is to do good.  That is the gift of the wise, sensible virgins. Through them we learn to be watchful, not only in terms of having proper timing or of being afraid, of getting caught. We are faithful in doing good because it is the right thing all the time. Doing good becomes a habit in us. We become good so that whether or not the guard or the police comes, we do good. Whether or not these law enforcers are watching, we will do the right thing all the time because we know that o be our nature. And if we do not do good, if we are not watchful, we will be going against ourselves.

First W is Wisdom; the second W is Watchfulness. The third W for today represents “Whole.” Whole meaning complete, total, not partial but whole. In the First letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians, he reminds us that life is total, life is whole. Don’t ever think that because of death, life becomes only half. Don’t ever think that life becomes cut in halves or quarters. No! According to St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, in death life is changed not ended. The perfect example of this is the caterpillar. The caterpillar dies, so to speak. But from our point of view, it is not death but a transformation into a beautiful butterfly. When there is no death for the caterpillar there can be no butterfly. St. Paul says to us in the Second reading, life is whole and that the will of God for us fullness, wholeness, all the time. It is not the will of God for us to grieve like the pagans. It is not the will of God for us to picture death as we do at Halloween, with hairs raised, with bleeding wounds. Death is victory for us who believe in Christ because life is a totality. Life is a whole piece. And death does not take away the pieces of life. Death only transforms us to a beautiful butterfly.

The gift of wisdom, watchfulness and wholeness are gifts for us to take home this Sunday. Not only this Sunday but for the rest of our lives. May God give us wisdom to know the essentials from the accidentals. May God give us watchfulness, not only proper timing, not fear of getting caught but doing the right thing, the good thing, all the time, whether we are being watched or not. And always remember, the will of God for us is to be complete, to be whole. Death does not take away that wholeness. Death does not make life incomplete. Death does not snuff out life. Death is only a transformation. A transformation from the caterpillar which signifies our “Imprisonment” right now, into the beauty of a butterfly, which represents life everlasting. (Bp Soc Villegas Love Like Jesus pp.15-17)


Friday, August 28, 2015 –

FRIDAY OF THE 21ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 25:1-13. UNSA MAN NGA PAGPANGANDAM ANG ATONG PAGAHIMOON ALANG SA PAG-ABOT SA GINOO? Ang Sambingay sa mga Dalaga adunay tubag niini. Si Kristo mao ang pamanhonon; ang Simbahan mao ang pangasaw-onon. Ang pag-abot sa kaslonon posible nga malangan; apan kita, nga mga dinapit sa kasal, kinahanglan nga kanunay’ng andam. Ang lampara maoy simbolo sa atong pagtoo; samtang ang lana mao ang atong mga maayong buhat. Ang pagtoo nga walay buhat usa ka patay’ng pagtoo, sama nga ang lampara nga walay lana dili makasiga. Aron maandam kita sa pag-abot sa Ginoo, atong sundon ang mga maalamong dalaga diha sa sambingay. Padaghanon nato ang atong dalang lana, nga sa laing pagkasulti, ang atong mga maayong buhat, aron sa pag-abot ni Kristo maabtan kita nga may dalang kahayag. Posted by Abet Uy


Friday, August 26, 2016

FRIDAY OF THE 21ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MATEO 25:1-13. UNSA MAN NGA PAGPANGANDAM ANG ATONG PAGAHIMOON ALANG SA PAG-ABOT SA GINOO? Ang lampara maoy simbolo sa atong pagtoo; samtang ang lana maoy simbolo sa atong mga maayong buhat. Ang pagtoo nga walay buhat usa ka patay’ng pagtoo, sama nga ang lampara nga walay lana dili makasiga. Aron maandam kita sa pag-abot sa Ginoo, atong sundon ang mga maalamong dalaga diha sa sambingay. Bisan nalangan pag-abot ang pamanhonon, ang mga maalamong dalaga wala maproblema tungod kay daghan sila’g dala nga lana. Sa samang paagi, atong padaghanon ang atong dalang lana, nga sa laing pagkasulti, ang atong mga maayong buhat, aron sa pag-abot ni Kristo maabtan kita nga may igong kahayag. Adunay nindot nga panultihon: “A drop of good deed can become an ocean if you do it constantly.” Posted by Abet Uy


ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID – “Behold the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” – Matthew 25:6

It’s always an honor to be part of a bridal entourage. But being a bridesmaid is more than just wearing a gown and partnering with a groomsman. You are the right-hand woman of the bride, helping her with the details of the wedding and ensuring she is prepared for her special day.

Today’s Gospel is about the wise and foolish virgins. In Jewish tradition, their task is to carry oil lamps, go with the bride and light the way towards the home of the groom. This procession is sacred and, as we gleaned from the parable, the foolish virgins who did not have enough oil were banished from the wedding banquet. Coming unprepared spoils the wedding and is considered an insult to the bride and groom.

This reminds us to be vigilant and always prepared for the coming of Jesus. We would not want Him to catch us off-guard and our lamps of faith fading, running out of oil. We would not want our Eternal Spouse to see us stained and muddied with our brokenness and sin. Like the wise virgins, we want to be prepared with our flasks filled with the oil of grace, so that Jesus, our Eternal Bridegroom, may find us faithful in waiting for Him. Dina Pecaña (

Reflection: “I have found the one whom my soul loves.” (Song of Solomon 3:4)

Lord Jesus, though I may not know the day or the hour, may You find me faithful when You come again.


ARE YOU READY? – “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:13

In 1988, a good number of people from our Catholic community gathered in an open basketball court waiting for Jesus to come and take us away. We did this because we read a booklet entitled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Could Be in 1988. We not only read it — we believed it and lived like Jesus would return to earth that September, just as the booklet had predicted.

Looking back now, it was silly to believe anyone who claims to know when Jesus’ Second Coming will be when He Himself said that “not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” knows. One thing I did learn from that exercise is to live with the awareness that Jesus is coming at a time we do not expect. He may not come on the clouds with angels in tow as Rapture advocates believe, but Jesus comes in the most unexpected ways.

He came quietly to take a friend’s mom in her sleep. He came swiftly to take a teenage boy who figured in a car accident. He came suddenly to take thousands during a violent earthquake.

We don’t need a prophet of doom to tell us when Jesus is coming. What’s important is that we live in a way that we’re ready for the Lord to take us when it’s time. Rissa Singson Kawpeng (

Reflection: “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

“We proclaim Your Death, O Lord, and profess Your Resurrection, until You come again.” (Memorial Acclamation)


BE ALWAYS PREPARED! – A strange story! Virgins with oil lamps, a late bridegroom, a locked door, and stern words of rejection! What is this all about? It looks to us like a “made up” story. But the story reflects wedding customs of Jesus’ time. After the wedding ceremony, the bride waits until the bridegroom arrives, and nobody knows when he would arrive after being once more out with his friends — that’s part of the ritual. And woe to the wedding party if he finds them asleep!

Now, what is Jesus teaching us with this parable?

Obviously, it is about being prepared. Nobody knows when we will close our eyes forever and stand before God as our judge. I ask you, if you were to die right now, would you be prepared or would you rather ask the Lord, “Wait a little, I have first to go to confession,” or “I have first to settle some things at home”?

Jesus makes us aware to be always ready and prepared. There are certain things that cannot be postponed. Just think of a student — it is too late to prepare for the exam after waking up in the morning of the exam.

The parable also warns us that there are certain things which cannot be borrowed. We cannot borrow a good relationship with God. We cannot borrow a friendship with Christ. We must acquire it ourselves.

Most important is to live, as much as possible, a good life in a not-so-good world every day. By reaching out to others, by helping others, by not hurting others with our words and attitudes we accumulate “oil” in our lamps and so we will be ready and admitted into heaven when the moment of departure from this life comes.

As always, Jesus does not intend to frighten us. No, He loves us and wants us all to be with Him in heaven one day. Therefore He tells these stories to wake us up and remind us of what is actually important in life. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: Will you be ready now to appear before God as your judge?

Lord, I often live as if life would go on forever. I forget that life is short and limited. Help me to be always aware of this truth and be ready anytime You call me to eternity. Amen.


Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 1: 17-25; Mt 25:1-13

I (do not) Believe

While preparing a retreat for Sisters, I thought of ‘second coming of Jesus’ as a topic to speak of. To know the relevance of the topic I discussed it with few consecrated people.  “It is a Protestant spirituality and the Charismatic people hold on to it,” many of them said. They were not even aware that it was the one of the main teachings of Jesus Christ and all the Gospels speak of it. Whether one is aware or not, at least once a day (in Rosary) we recite the creed and strongly proclaim that we all believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ. And in practical life we do not believe, to admit humbly.

The Gospel today warns us that this second coming can happen at any time. We must be prepared. Otherwise we will be like the foolish virgins who had no oil for their lamps. The preparation for welcoming Jesus will happen only when we live in the thought of ‘after life’. Least, we will be entangled in the pleasures of this world. Therefore, St. Paul exhorts Thessalonians to lead a holy life being freed of slavery to the bodily passions. Paul was speaking to them in the context of the Second coming of Jesus as he speaks in the remaining part of the passage that we read in the First reading.

Living in view of the second coming of Jesus will help us to re-prioritise our values in life. Certain values that we hold on now may turn to be less-valuable. We will be doing things that are more meaningful. The thought of second coming of Jesus will motivate each of us to fill the lamp our life with the oil of love. May our light continue to shine (Mt 5:16).Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI


August 26, 2016

REFLECTION: We all know the difference between theory and practice. Theory is all about pure knowledge residing in the mind only. It is about explai­ning phenomena, making hypo­theses, formulating principles, and so on. Practice is all about doing, bringing about concrete results, influencing the world outside the mind. These two things do not ­necessarily go together. We all know, for example, people who have a Ph.D. in education and do not know how to raise their own children.

We know medical doctors who are obese, smoke a lot and never exercise. We know make-up artists who look like un-made beds.

Paul tells us in today’s first reading that God, by saving the world through Christ crucified, simply overlooked the so-called wisdom of the world and instead provided us with the only practical means of salvation that could rescue us from our state of lostness. God did not give us a treatise on how to govern our lives. He sent a man of flesh and blood, a carpenter who died a bloody death on the cross. Yet, this “folly” of his was wiser than all our libraries…


Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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