On the Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13
32nd Sunday of the Year
This Gospel, taken from Matthew 25:1-13, presents us with a parable about bridesmaids who are awaiting the coming of a bridegroom and an imminent Marriage. Marriage is a very prominent image in the Bible and is normally used to signify the relationship which God seeks to have with His Church, often referred to as the Bride of Christ. This relationship between Christ and the Church is most clearly shown in the Crucifixion and death of our Lord. In dying on the Cross for our redemption, Jesus performs the ultimate act of love for us, where he gives up his life in a perfect gift of self-sacrifice.
We also participate in a heavenly marriage on earth each time we attend Holy Mass. In the Mass, Christ gives us His body and blood in the Holy Eucharist where the love of Christ penetrates the very heart of our being. In the Eucharist, we experience temporally, the Heavenly union we look forward to after death. It is this union with God in Heaven which is the ultimate Marriage that we all strive for and which is the purpose of our life on earth. It provides, for us, the complete fulfillment of all happiness and desire. It is this heavenly Marriage, after death, that our Lord asks us to be ready for in this passage from scripture.
Jesus urges us to be ready for the arrival of the Bridegroom, ensuring, always, that our lamps are full of oil. In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 14, Jesus tell us that we are to be the “light of the world.” In order to be a light, however, we need oil in our lamps. This oil is the oil of faith and prayer which keeps us persevering in the Life of Grace. Oil is the energy that our Lord gives us, though the Holy Spirit, to continue to follow Him through the “ups and downs” of this life. It is when we ensure that our lamps are full of oil and burning brightly, that we are ready for Christ’s coming.
It is no secret that there are people who feel that they know the time of Our Lord’s second coming and the end of this world. These self-proclaimed prophets, however, never seem to reflect on the fact that our Lord says in this passage that no one knows, “either the day or the hour” when He is to return. God has ordained that, although we know that he is going to come again, we have no knowledge of exactly when that time will be. In light of this, we must always strive to come to terms with our mortality, understanding that at any moment, we may be called from this life on earth. We are made for unity with God and we must therefore always be ready for that time when God calls us to Himself and our life on earth comes to an end. This consistent readiness on our part, does not mean a flight from this world, but a sanctification of all the little things that we are engaged in on a daily basis. God calls each of us to a life of Holiness, and we must allow our light of faith to shine brightly at every moment of our lives. We must “stay awake” and be ready for when God calls us to full unity with Him in Heaven.
Jesus told this parable to his disciples: “At that time 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 took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour”.
– Matthew 25:1-13