BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu



“The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever, I will thwart.” *(1st Corinthians 1:18-19)*

Whenever the scriptures talk about foolishness, it always does so within the context of wisdom. We become wise only when we realize we have been foolish. In the parable of the ten virgins, Jesus is not simply entertaining us with a story, he wants us to examine ourselves, to ask certain questions and to find out where we really belong.

There were ten maidens, five were foolish and five were wise. The only thing that differentiated the foolish from the wise was the fact that they went along with some extra oil; they didn’t depend only on the oil in their lamps. The question I must ask myself now is: “Where and what constitutes my extra oil?” or better put, “what is that thing I do that will help me get to heaven when everything else fails?”

Coming to our first reading, St. Paul like Jesus, distinguishes between the foolish from the wise using the message of the cross as the yardstick. As a Christian, how do I relate with the message of the cross? St. Paul says, talking about the cross is foolishness to those who are doomed for destruction. Do I laugh at those who are against the Prosperity-Gospel?

What constitutes a cross for me? Could it even be the case that this cross is the extra oil needed to gain heaven? Have I been resisting the cross (sufferings, sacrifices, discomfort and inconvenience that comes with being steadfast to God)? In other words, am I becoming foolish by seeking a life free from the cross; am I throwing away my extra oil?

I was listening to a radio program some time ago. The presenter asked people to call into the show to say what they would like to collect from their ex-boyfriend/ girlfriend or ex-husband/wife. I was particularly touched by a lady who called to say she has nothing to get back because her present relationship was her very first. You needed to hear the reaction of the Radio Presenter who was shocked to find out that a lady of twenty-five had never been in a previous relationship. He was like: “Where have you been? What have you been doing with your life?”

Our society is fast losing a sense of moral rectitude. Standards which hitherto were considered as normal now constitute a cross for those who wish to live by them. In the wave of scandals, satan tries to preach a false gospel – if so and so are doing it, then who are you not to do it? What’s even wrong about it? Dear friends, let us never be shaken. Foolishness will never become wisdom no matter how popular it becomes.

Even if you are the only one left standing, stand for what is right and true; carry the cross, it’s your extra oil. Don’t be an average Christian, stop trying to just be like everyone else.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my wisdom. Amen.

*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Corinthians 1:17-25, Psalm 33:1-11 and Matthew 25:1-13).*

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