Today is Great and Holy Tuesday in the Byzantine Rite:
Jesus taught a parable about ten virgin brides purchased for a lord. They waited together at the place appointed for their wedding, to all meet their groom together. The groom is delayed in his travel, and doesn’t arrive until late at night. Half the ladies had prepared oil for their lamps; the other half wouldn’t be bothered to take care of that. When the groom arrives, the better-prepared half make it out to meet him, while they others don’t manage, unable to get out of bed and get dressed and ready and so forth with no light to see by. The groom is content to marry the five, and leave the other five to their own devices.
Don’t presume upon the merits of good you’ve done, or evil you’ve abstained from. It only matters so much that you’ve kept up a regime of prayer and fasting, or that you’ve made a routine of giving to the church and the needy.
These are all good and blessed things, but so was the virginity of the five unwise brides who didn’t keep oil for their lamps. God more than deserves our righteousness, and that’s what we should strive for. For our righteousness, God must find us ready for His judgment any hour, any day. If we would call ourselves Christ’s followers, we ought to aim for that. If – WHEN – we fall short of it, let us praise and adore Christ for His sacrifice for God’s forgiveness, and for His willingness to love sinners, of whom I am the first. More tomorrow.