The other night I found myself walking towards the gate of heaven. On the way there I ran into some figures in the dark who were crying. “Why are you crying?” I asked. “We are crying because the Lord refused to let us in. He said he did not know us,” they replied. I arrived at the gate to find it locked. So with hesitation and trepidation I rang the bell, knowing that it was the Lord himself who would answer.
As I stood there waiting, a terrifying question arose in my mind: Will he know me? Of course he will know me! Ah, yes, but will he recognize me as a disciple of his? That’s the question. And it’s one I can’t do anything about now. It’s too late to change anything. I dreaded the thought that I might find myself excluded, an outsider, alone in the darkness.
What’s he going to look for? I asked myself. Then I thought of the parable of the lamps. He will look for a lamp that is burning brightly. “What have I done with my lamp?” Oh, good, I still have it, I exclaimed. But when I looked at it I found to my horror that it had gone out.
At that moment I woke up to find that it was only a dream. What a relief! It was just a warning that the Lord in his goodness had given me to wake me up, to shake me out of my complacent ways.
Wouldn’t it be horrible to arrive at heaven’s door, to knock and then to have the Lord come out and say to you, “I do not know you.” And you find yourself outside alone in the dark, while inside all is light, joy, community, and celebration.
What lamp are we talking about? Essentially it is the lamp of love. Love, in order to be genuine, does not have to be extraordinary. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Do little things with great love.”
How does a lamp burn? By putting a continuous supply of oil in it. If the drops of oil cease, the lamp will go out. What are these drops of oil in our lamps? They are the small things that make up our daily life: faithfulness, prayer, words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of speaking and of acting. These are the drops of love that keep our spiritual life burning like a lively flame.
Since none of us knows the day or the hour when the Lord’s will come, we must be prepared at all times, so that when he does come, we can enter into the Kingdom in its fullness. To be prepared means to be, not just a hearer of the Word, but a doer of the Word.
All that Jesus says to us in this parable is meant as a warning. This warning is not intended to scare us, but is a sign of Jesus’ love for us. That the soul should always be ready for the coming of the Bridegroom, always waiting for the voice of the Beloved.
– Fr. Dennis, November 12, 2017