Friday, August 28, 2015

Reflection: Matthew 25:1-13

Friday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time — Matthew 25:1-13

In the Gospel reading today, Jesus tells his disciples the parable of the Ten Virgins. This is a familiar parable to most of us. The ten virgins took their lamps and went out to await the coming of the bridegroom. Jesus tells us that five of these virgins were foolish and the other five virgins were wise.

The custom in the time of Jesus was that the bridegroom typically took off to party with his friends after the wedding. Then late in the night, the groom would collect his bride and take her to his house. When the bridegroom finally appeared, the custom was for the bridesmaids to light the way to his house with lamps.

Jesus’ version is a bit different. At midnight, the virgins were awakened when the sentinel cried out: “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out and welcome him!” Immediately, all ten of the virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. However, five of the virgins had not anticipated that the bridegroom would dally (party) so long. Foolishly, the virgins had not brought any extra oil for their lamps. Thus, when the bridegroom finally arrived, their lamps no longer had any oil in them. They were dark! The other five virgins were wise and prudent women. They had planned well and brought along some extra lamp oil, just in case it was needed.

Today’s Gospel invites us to ask ourselves: Am I a wise or a foolish virgin? Or am I a bit of both depending on the circumstances? Within us, (male or female), all of us have a wise virgin (person) and also within us, we have a foolish virgin (person). Gender makes no difference. We also are waiting for the bridegroom to come to us. Do we have our lamps lit? Are we anxious and alert? Or has our oil been used up and our lamp is dark? Or have we fallen asleep?

Today Jesus will come to us, though we do not know when or how He will arrive! Are we prepared for His coming? Are we awake and alert? Or have we fallen asleep?

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