Matthew 25:1-13, 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
To what shall we compare the kingdom of heaven for today’s generation?
The kingdom of heaven will be like ten millennials who took their snazzy and glitzy smartphones with them and went out to meet the bridegroom at an undisclosed location. They were all agog over the possibility of snapping a selfie with the groom to post on their Instragram and Facebook accounts and to tweet how “blessed” they were for all the world to see and admire. But five of them were foolish and the other five wise. No, they were not foolish because they got the more ludicrously expensive but fragile iPhone X while the other got Samsung Note 8. In fact, they both got the same brand and model (doesn’t matter which now, really) and all phones were sufficiently charged before they went out.
So what did make the five foolish, you might ask? Well, while waiting for the groom to arrive, all ten of them resolved to wait patiently and reserve the use of their phones for meaningful pursuits. But as the seconds of waiting turned to minutes and the minutes turned into hours, they all became fidgety and one by one, started to get their devices and fiddled with them. The other five remembered their purpose and snapped back their phones while the rest reasoned out, “What the heck, if he’s coming, he should have arrived by now!” And they proceeded to do what other millennials like themselves would do.
One of the foolish millennials decided to play EverWing and annoyed his friends by constantly nagging them to download and play the same game. The other one scrolled through herFB account to like and love or to ha ha or wow or be angry at her friends’ posts. Another one got so bored with what she was seeing that she took selfies of herself in different angles and with different filters and beautify apps and uploaded them on her IG account. Yet another posted rants and complaints on Twitter on how undignified and mosquito-infested the place they were made to wait was. The last of the foolish ones simply shared fake news of this and that event.
While all this was happening, the other five talked about what they would say to the groom who deigned it worthy to invite them to such a lofty and spectacular feast. They recalled stories of how they received the invitation and how each reacted the way they did: with astonishment, disbelief, bewilderment, elation and gratitude. They remembered how they really wanted to go but had no way of securing an invite since they were simply ordinary millennials, no different from the other millennials one would bump into on a busy street. Yet here they were extolling the virtues of the groom; how kind and generous he was, how merciful and forgiving. And as they told stories about him, their hearts were inflamed and grew fonder of him and they ached to see him in the flesh. They hardly noticed the seconds turning to minutes and the minutes to hours.
At last, at the appointed time arrived and all ten millennials were sent a text message telling them to get ready because the groom was coming. The other five, because they were busy with the affairs of the world, did not notice the message or that their batteries had run out early. As the five wise millennials stood up and got ready, the foolish ones asked, “Pray tell us, what’s the buzz? Tell us what’s a-happening.” And the five wise millenials said, “We each received a confirmation ticket to the banquet which we are to present to the guards so we may get inside and meet the groom and his bride.” But as the others checked their phones, they found out they had run out of juice and there was no way to retrieve the ticket except by charging them. So they pleaded with the other five to share the power left in theirs. But the wise told the foolish ones, “It is not possible. There may not be enough for us to use when we socialize with the groom and his guests. Go to the nearest 7-Eleven convenience store to have your phones charged.”
And we all know how this sad story ended. The five foolish millennials were locked outside while the wise ones got to meet the groom. And the funny thing is, this modern retelling of an old parable is not only for millennials but for young and old, male or female, sinners or saint, virgins or not.
Fundamentally it asks us how we spend our time. With what pursuits or undertakings do we busy ourselves? Do we prepare for Christ’s coming into our workplaces, our homes, our hearts? Or are we so enamored by the “beauty” (fleeting and illusory) of this world that we have completely forgotten that we have a home that is beyond beauty? What repetitive games do we play to while our time away? What sins and vices hold us captive and enslaved? How anxious are we with the way we look, how people view us, what we eat, where we sleep and how much wealth and gadgets we have accumulated?
Do we still have time to pray? To reflect on God’s everyday invitation to spend more time with Him? Or are we too hooked on things of secondary importance? Christ is the groom who sends out an invitation every single day, every hour, every second. Are we going to be wise or insist on being foolish?