Sunday Homilies / Reflections

Wise Virgins are all we are!

This is a remake of a Sunday (November 8, 2008) homily delivered by Fr. Louie Dailisan, SVD missionary based in Democratique Republique du Congo on a Holy mass in Saint Ann Chapel I concelebrated with in Kinshasa. Fr. Louie is a parish priest of village community in Bandundu province, 400 kms from Kinshasa.—FR. ARNOLD C. BIAGO, SVD

In one remote village of Afrika, a man took the responsibility of the construction of a school building through the aid of the foreign funding agency. Since the funding agency is based in Europe and have no way to check the progress of the project, this man thought of diverting some the funds. The funding agency on their part, continuously sent funds to this man, relying only the data they culled from the construction phases report sent to their office quarterly. Finally, the project was completed according to the report sent to the office of the funding agency. Now, calculating the cost of sending a staff to check on project, the foreign funding agency instead requested their embassy in the said country to visit the project and represent them in the inauguration ceremony. The ambassador then sent his staff to notify the project local coordinator of the desire of the funding agency to inaugurate the project. Lo and behold! The ambassador’s staff discovered that there was nothing to be inaugurated other than unfinished foundations of the building standing idle in the site. He also discovered that the project coordinator instead used the funds to buy a big parcel of land and constructed a big house for himself. The pictures he sent to the funding agency where other privately funded construction of buildings. Certainly, no inauguration happened.

What happened in this anecdote is essentially the same as what the Jesus speaks of in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. The five foolish virgins were indeed foolish not because they lack enough oil for their lamp rather they did not use properly the oil given to them for the occasion. We heard it clear from our Gospel that, “the foolish ones, though they took their lamps, took no oil with them, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps.” We might ask why they not brought flask of oil like the other five. I believe they want to use it on another occasion of their choose.

Like the ten virgins as well as the man responsible for the construction of a school building, I truly believe that God has given us all something of value of different kinds. Unfortunately, what usually happens is we keep a lot for ourselves and failed to give in to what God desires and wills for us. In this way, disasters, failures, and all kinds of troubles happen in which humanity suffers.

Let us then remind ourselves that what God has given us is not solely for our own rather it is to be spent according to His intention instead of our own. Jesus Christ, who spent his life not for himself but for his Father’s will is the best example of what is to be one among the wise virgins, who brought along with them flask of oil to be spent on the occasion desired by the Master.

Let me share with you another story as an ending to this Gospel reflection:

A renowned engineer of a construction firm is soon to retire. He was so far the best in the company. The company president trusted him so much. One day, he called him to his office and as asked him to do one last and special project before he retires: “You construct the most beautiful house you could ever imagined, get the best people and use whatever resources we have, no budget ceiling, it’s all yours.” said the company president. The engineer gladly accepted the task. The project commenced and he was awed by the grandeur of the project he is directing. Instead of admiration of his team’s talents and the beauty of the house, what he harbors in his heart are grudges and resentment. “Here I am leaving this company after giving 30 precious years of my life empty handed and tired. Whereas, the company has acquired for itself a name and wealth. This project is a waste of my time and talent.” So he slowly distanced from the project and asked his inexperienced staff to supervise the project and cut the cost by using cheap and substandard materials. Finally, the dream house was finished a week before his retirement. By his judgment, the house will not last more that five years and will be toppled by an ordinary storm. The company was very happy to see how beautiful the dream house is. He congratulated the engineer who directed the project, then decided to have the company tribute for him and at the same time inauguration of the house on the coming weekend. The night of the double celebration came, the company president spoke thus, “This is a very special night for all of us because we are blessed to have the best in our company and so our company would also want to give him the best as a token of appreciation. Here I am holding a box of keys to his house, the symbol of its ownership, which I am very proud to give to our very own project engineer who is now retiring!”

In our own little ways we are all project engineer whom God asks to build a dream house. We need to build this house properly and in all honesty by our very own efforts of goodness and love. Because this house is our own, the home we have to build with God.

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