The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
In today’s gospel, the virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to take them to the marriage feast. It is the Christian tradition that Jesus is the Bridegroom of His Church, his faithful Bride.
- The bridegroom is Jesus
- The virgins are the Bride of Jesus; i.e. the Christian communities of the Church
- The oil lamps represent God the Holy Spirit
- The wedding banquet is the heavenly wedding banquet of the Lamb and His Bride
In the parable, all the virgins have oil lamps which they must keep burning as they await the coming of the bridegroom. The flames of the oil lamps represent the spiritual light of the Holy Spirit giving life to the Church.
In the parable the bridegroom is delayed in his coming. It is a reminder that we do not know when Jesus our Bridegroom, will return.
The Five virgins: they represent 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. But only half the virgins/Christian communities are prepared for the coming of the bridegroom “the ill-prepared virgins miss the coming of the bridegroom and cannot enter the wedding feast. The door to the Kingdom of Heaven will be closed to those who do not prepare for the wedding feast of the Lamb and His Bride the Church, not because God so has set things should be. It will be so because of their own actions.
Jesus’ response to those who failed in their obedience is that He never knew them. Jesus’ rejection of the foolish virgins/failed Christians is because they never committed to the intimacy of covenantal union (intimate/close/personal) with the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. The warning that has been given throughout this discourse, post the cleansing of the temple (Matthew 21), is repeated once again. But somewhere at the beginning is another banquet mentioned (Matthew 22:1-14), where everyone in invited, it is up to us to accept the invitation and keep the faith.