The Parable of Ten Virgins, the Parable of the Talents, and the description of the Doomsday: the stories are so different but essentially, all those stories imply that we are responsible to God with regard to the main task of our lives, i.e., loving our neighbors – all those people whom the Lord has chosen to be my contemporaries and neighbors in the course of my short life.
What do workers receive in the Parable of the Talents? Each of them receives some power to love. Each receives according to his own measure. A person’s life is justified by his being able to multiply this love, engaging as many people as possible into this circle of love, infecting his neighbors with it. What is human life, other than love, the creativity of which lets us be like God?
Early Christian authors who interpreted the Parable of Ten Virgins saw oil as acts of love that a person has done. The five foolish virgins had been waiting for the Bridegroom in all sincerity and patience but He didn’t recognize them: Verily I say unto you, I know you not (Matthew 25:12).
Let’s recall other words of our Savior: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35). The description of the Doomsday in the Bible is interesting because it is provided by the Judge himself. According to his description, He will judge people based on the acts of love they’ve done to their neighbors. It is even more important, therefore, for us to pay attention to how baffled both sinful and righteous people are at the Judge’s verdict: When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Cf. Matthew 25:38-40).
Jesus likens himself to our neighbor – yes, that uncomely contemporary of ours who is too ordinary to interest us. If I work hard to merge into the Church to the best of my abilities but at the same time I stop being interested in humans – those ordinary people who are near, who live next door and whom the Lord has given me – then I have to admit to myself that there’s something wrong with me, that I do something wrong, and that I am running short of vigor and love that Christ has called me to. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matthew 25:13).
Of course, these words describe the Judgment Day and the coming Judge – the Bridegroom who comes unexpectedly. Every person who needs our love is the unexpected bridegroom. Jesus Christ suffers because He loves humankind – each one of us. That is why we, as the disciples of the Lover of mankind, should maintain our interest in other humans throughout our lives and our spiritual efforts. We should have enough light and warmth for every bridegroom who needs it.
Translated by The Catalog of Good Deeds