32nd Sun A
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
Recent studies have shown that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become expert in a field. Talent can only take you so far – one can achieve the occasional good result – but dedicated practice is what is needed to make talent second nature. After much practice, the expert can get up and perform whether they feel like it or not, whether the circumstances are favourable or not, whether the tools are up to scratch or not.
All the bridesmaids, whether sensible or stupid, were caught asleep when the Bridegroom arrived but only five were ready with oil. This oil has traditionally been interpreted as love – both of God and of neighbour. The women with oil had prepared for the coming of the Bridegroom by the quality of their lives beforehand. They had lived lives of love and so could respond to the coming of the Bridegroom.
There is a strange paradox in Christian revelation. The coming of the Son of God in Jesus and in his life, death and resurrection reveals the overwhelming love of God for humankind, yet Jesus repeatedly demands that we make this love real in our lives. Jesus is warning us that we cannot take God’s love for granted. St John of the Cross has said, ‘In the evening of life we will be judged in love.’ Yes, we will be judged in the love of God but we will also be judged according to how we have loved. We have to practice love in the ordinary circumstances of life so that when the great revelation of love comes at our death, we can respond with love.