Friday, August 26, 2016

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 parable that is familiar to most of us.  The ten virgins took their lamps and went out to wait for the coming of the bridegroom.  Jesus tells us that five of these virgins were foolish and the other five virgins were wise.

The custom at 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 come and collect his bride.   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 or 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.  There lamps were dark; they could not escort the bridegroom to his bride!

Now 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.  Thus, they could escort the bridegroom to the bridal chamber.

Today’s Gospel invites us to ask ourselves: Am I wise or foolish?  Or am I a bit of both, depending on the circumstances?  Within us, we each have a wise person and we all have a foolish person within us.

Today, we also are waiting for the bridegroom to come to each one of us.  Do we have our lamps lit? Are we prepared and alert? Or has our oil been used up and our lamp dark?  Or perhaps we have fallen asleep?

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