It is on the feastday of St. Petka that the prescribed gospel is the one which describes the fate of the ten virgins and, more specifically, the fate of the foolish ones who were forced to go and buy oil only to discover upon their return that the bridegroom had already arrived and there was no way to get inside for the wedding banquet. Alas, it was too late!
The reading is quite appropriate for examining the seemingly quick passing of time. For what it’s worth I think it’s easier to contemplate on the current year – or what’s left of it, precisely now, that is, when there’s something still left of it! What use is it asking ourselves where did 2009 go on December 31? If we are truly unsatisfied with what we did, or what we though we’d be able to do and never got around to it, maybe we can still do something about it.
The Synaxarion for Great and Holy Tuesday describes the parable of the ten virgins and states that “as the night of the present life was going by, all the virgins fell asleep, that is, they died, for death is called a sleep [….] Therefore, it is made quite clear that after death, correction of mistakes and wicked acts shall be impossible, a teaching which is also found in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. (See Luke 16:19-31)
But, glory be to God, it is not late for us neither for this year nor our lives. Let us then look to the life of St. Petka whom we commemorate tomorrow and tomorrow’s feast and all the feasts which are before us. That we follow the holy and righteous ones in their zeal, in their prayer, in their charity and, above all, in their love for God and fellow man. As the great Ebenezer Le Page wrote at the twilight of his own life, “I wish I could live my life again. I wish I could write my story again. I have judged people. I do not want to judge people. I want to bless. I want to bless every soul who have ever lived and laughed and suffered…on this island in the sun, this island in God’s sea!”
Through the prayers of St. Petka and of all the Saints, may God bless us and may we bless!