The Word in other words (2021) by Fr. Samuel Agcaracar, SVD (DWIMS, Tagaytay City)
Friday 21st Week in Ordinary Time
John Wesley, an 18th-century English evangelist, asked about what he would do if he knew his Lord would return same time the next day replied: “I would go to bed and go to sleep; wake up in the morning, and go on with my work, for I would want Him to find me doing what he had appointed.”
Today’s Gospel reminds us of the unpredictability of death or Jesus’ second coming. It’s a story of 10 virgins. The five who were ready met the bridegroom; the five who were not, got locked out.
A confrere in his 70s jokingly tells the community that he has decided to die at eighty-five. Looking deeper into this joke, we can draw an insight pertinent to a more profound reflection on the Gospel. It is not merely a question of being prepared for death, but of putting our best in our little/big tasks daily. It is about making the best of our time through commitment, focus, and celebration of life.
Commitment entails total giving of oneself to our God-given mission. It means loving our work despite the circumstances around it. Focus implies clarity of direction and priorities in life. It demands contemplation; we need guidance by the promptings of the Holy Spirit on to the right path. Celebration of life enables us to embrace the beauty of life, the gift of “otherness,” and the inexplicable events that happen beyond our control and longings.
Seeing life from such perspectives makes us understand that even our decision to die at a particular time is not a joke. St. Monica’s life shows us the above dispositions, as seen in the life of her son, St. Augustine—the fruit of her commitment, focus, and celebrating life as a mother.