Gospel 25: 1-13
The passage from Saint Matthew’s gospel consists of a parable concerning ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish not having brought oil while five were sensible bringing with them flasks of oil along with their lamps. When the bridegroom was late those not having brought enough oil went out in search of some and so missed out not being able to gain entry to the wedding hall as the doors were closed on their return. They not only missed out but they had been given a task to do at an important event and so may even have obstructed the occasion for others.
“So stay awake because you do not know either the day or the hour.”
Reading this passage this week reminds me of the motto of the scouts, “Be prepared”. Jesus uses this parable to teach what the Kingdom of heaven might be like. The biblical expression of what the Kingdom of heaven will be like means the coming of grace into the world. The five foolish bridesmaids predicted how long they might be waiting, made a judgement call on something quite unpredictable. Their mistake was in the reason as to why they did not bring any flasks of oil as they could not have known how long the wait might be. I recall being in a household where more than enough food was cooked. After the meal there was food left over and the thought expressed to me was that you never know if someone would call to the door and the extra food was there for him or her. The person in question was prepared for any visitor who might knock.
We never know what graces might come our way or opportunities that allow us access to the Kingdom of heaven. To stay awake and be alert living in hope despite the uncertainty of what we do not know is a challenge. We are given the task as disciples of Jesus to live in the Kingdom of heaven and if we fail at this we miss out, just like the five foolish bridesmaids and this lack may not only affect us but also the lives of others. Our living for the Kingdom of heaven is a constant demand to stay awake!
Sr. Edel Murphy OP