Am I ready? This was the question that I repeatedly asked myself before finally heeding God’s call. Being the breadwinner of the family, with a plan of working abroad and raising my own kids, it took me ten years to decide to enter the priestly vocation. Being involved in different church ministries, especially the chance of leading the youth ministry, ignited my desire to shepherd God’s flock. I was also inspired by our previous parish priest in his genuine intention of serving our community. My readiness had been my dilemma since I would be giving up my old life, leaving my comfort zones, and embracing a new world that I felt God was preparing for me for so long. In addition, waiting for the result of my application demanded patience and hope. Even our entrance day was difficult because I would be celebrating my 35th birthday away from my loved ones.
In the Gospel, only five of the ten virgins were vigilant and ready for the coming of the bridegroom. They brought flasks of oil with their lamps as the arrival of the expected guest was very uncertain while the other five had become complacent.
Looking back on my life before entering the seminary, I believe that God prepared me for this mission. My experiences serving the sick through my profession, ministering to the youth and helping my loved ones nurtured the seed of vocation in me. Truly, it is in waiting that I found my purpose.
The Gospel reminds me that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand – that our faith needs tending and nurturing. As a priest-in-process, I am challenged to always ask for God’s wisdom and to keep a right attitude of waiting, for the best things in life come with patience.
By: Sem. Peter John D. Arao
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.”