Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching, and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep; lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the kingdom. But rather rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God; through the Theotokos, have mercy on us.
Commentary on Matthew 25: 1-13 by Blessed Theophylact
He says that a cry was made in the middle of the night to show that the Lord comes when least expected, as at midnight when we all have fallen into a deep sleep. He also comes with a cry, for a trumpet will sound at the second coming. The lamps are our souls, and each one’s mind is also a lamp; the lamp is lit when one has the oil of the virtues and of almsgiving. The virgins were truly foolish in this regard also, that they went to look for oil when it was not the time for work and business. The wise virgins say, “lest there be not enough for us and you.” My neighbor’s virtue scarcely suffices for his own defense, and certainly not for me as well, for each one will be deemed righteous by his own deeds and not by those of his neighbor. But the foolish virgins went to “them that sell,” that is, to the poor. What He is saying is this: the foolish virgins repent of not having given alms and now for the first time they understand that it was from the poor that we should have obtained oil. This is what He means when He says that they went to buy oil from those that sell, that is, their thoughts went to the poor and they pondered how good a thing is almsgiving, but now the door was shut for them. For there is no time for repentance and deeds after our departure from this life. The Lord therefore says to them, “I know you not.” For the merciful God Who loves mankind does not know those who lack mercy, for how could He know those who are alien and dissimilar to Him? Understand this, that every soul possesses a lamp and a light from God, and that all arise to meet the Lord, for all desire to meet and have communion with God. But after God has given light and a lamp, the wise, with their good deeds, add the oil. But the foolish, having let their lamps run out of oil, are shut out, having no good deeds with which to fuel the light in their lamps. For if we do not labor and trade with good deeds, we extinguish the light of God that is in us.
Beloved, we embark upon a great journey with our Lord. We walked with Him to Bethany to bear witness to the wondrous raising of Lararus and we weep for joy for Martha and Mary. We wave branches as symbols of victory like the children as our Lord passes before us, riding to foal of an ass into Jerusalem. We also prepare with sorrow and grief as we know what the coming days shall bring but our grief will be turned into joy as we behold the life-giving Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour.
May we be accounted as the wise virgins, filling our vessels with good deeds and right belief. For truly, the Son of Man cometh when least expected.
A blessed and peaceful Great Week to all.