The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In today’s Gospel, the parable of the ten Bridesmaids emphasizes the need for watchfulness. It’s story centers on a Jewish marital custom: following the period of betrothal, the groom would lead a procession to bring his wife to his home, and they would celebrate a week long banquet with family and friends.
Here the bridegroom arrives to begin the joyous procession and take his wife to the marriage feast. When the bridegroom suddenly arrives at midnight, five bridesmaids are prepared and carry flasks of oil while the other five are considered foolish and are not prepared. The foolish maidens are excluded from the celebration while the wise participate fully.
The bridegroom is Jesus. The virgins are the Bride of Jesus that is the Christian communities of the Church. The oil represents good works. The wedding banquet is the heavenly wedding banquet of the Lamb and His Bride (Rev 19:7, 9).
Five virgins representing half the Christian communities are prudent and watchful. They are the Christian communities or individual Christians who are vigilant in keeping their lives right with God in preparation for the Parousia (second coming) of Jesus. Rest of the Christian communities miss the coming of the bridegroom and cannot enter the wedding feast. Like the door of the Ark that closed at the coming of the flood at the time of Noah, the door to the Kingdom of Heaven will be closed to those who do not prepare for the wedding feast of the Lamb.
We must prepare for our personal encounter with Jesus by loving God and neighbour, since those lacking good works will be shut out of the heavenly banquet. The parable reminds us that we must be waiting and watchful for the second coming of Jesus so we will be ready to greet him when he comes in glory.
So stay awake for we do not know the time when Jesus will come!